F2M2: How Vampire Viktor is a run-down rock star creating coastlines also named Sam

In the second installment of my on-going series “Fun Facts on Middle-earth related Media (F2M2)” I would like to introduce you to the man who inspired me to start it – Bill Nighy. My very first contact with him was in a radio series I will talk about later but for now I’d like to say his portrayal of old and disheartened rock star Billy Mack in Love Actually made me laugh a lot. Imagine my surprise when I saw him shortly after in Underworld playing vampire elder Viktor. However, that was only the beginning.

Bill Nighy 2780-1 It was then that I found out about the link I had mentioned to you before: Bill Nighy was the voice of Sam Gamgee in the BBC 4 radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings where Ian Holm was Frodo Baggins. And he went from strength to strength, fantasy-wise: in 2005 he played the role of Slartibartfast, the guy who is responsible for shaping Norway’s coastline in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; in 2006 he was basically unrecognisable as Davy Jones, one of the bad guys in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. How could you possibly top off all of this? By getting yourself a role in the Harry Potter series, of course, where Nighy plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the leader of the Ministry of Magic killed by Voldemort’s minions when taking over the Ministry. I’ll skip over his guest role in the BBC Inspector Lynley series (love them!) or his short stint in a Dr. Who episode but would like to say that playing in that crappy Total Recall remake of 2012 wasn’t the best of ideas, even if he portrayed the leader of the resistance, Matthias Lair, quite nicely.

Generally speaking Bill Nighy obviously has a heart for fantasy and science fiction, mystery and detective tales à la Simon Brett and his Charles Paris series and is working in projects like Frankenstein, Wrath of the Titans and Jack, the Giant Slayer. Just as an aside: his main voice-over artist in Germany is also the voice of Christopher Walken, David Bowie and Jeremy Irons. How cool is that? No wonder the man has his own fan tumblr.

Fuck Yeah, Bill Nighy - tumblr

Fuck Yeah, Bill Nighy – tumblr

 

 

 

TheTolkienist

A Tolkien fan for twenty-five years (and more to come...) Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Co-Founder of Ring*Con, Co-Founder of the ITF, host, presenter and fantasy expert

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  • A great second installment, enjoy checking in here when I can to see what’s new. Bill Nighy is certainly prolific and love the facts! I don’t think his work on the BBC Lord of the Rings radio series is appreciated enough though. Of his later work I prefer his smaller parts in things like Hot Fuzz and Notes on a Scandal, but I’m now enlightened to all the other fantasy work he’s done that passed me by…lots more treasure in the chest to check out I think…

    • Thanks for your kind words 🙂 I’m right now chasing fun facts not generally known with some of those people. The ‘BBC connection’ has been a gold mine, indeed, but I am definitely looking into the old ‘Shogun’ series to make something out of it – it is one of my all-time favs!