Exclusive: Billy Connolly discusses being in The Hobbit: "The size of the outfit I wore, it was like wearing my Volkswagen"

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

A boilermaker who became Britain’s most beloved comedian, Billy Connolly’s love affair with film started with the western double bills he’d watch as a bairn. Though the ‘Big Yin’ wouldn’t make his big-screen debut until he was 36, Connolly’s career has taken in comedies, Bafta-nominated dramas and a trip to Middle-earth. He’ll be back on screens shortly for one-night-only stand-up special The Sex Life Of Bandages. Here's a segment from our sister publication Total Film's interview with Connolly, discussing a few of his major blockbuster movies.

TF: How did you get involved in The Last Samurai? 

Connolly: The director asked for me. All his life, he had liked that cavalry film, Fort Apache. There’s this Irish guy in the US cavalry. When he saw this part, he thought that I could be the equivalent. 

Did you enjoy playing a zombie in Fido? 

It was brilliant because I didn’t say a word in it! There are some great lines in that movie. “Things would be different if you didn’t eat Mrs. McIntyre…”

How did you find the make-up? 

It was hellish. But it wasn’t as bad as the other one, The Hobbit. My make-up for The Hobbit took four hours a day. And the size of the outfit I wore, it was like wearing my Volkswagen. And I had, underneath all my clothes, this vest which was pneumatic. You plugged a hose in at the bottom of it, and it squished cold water around you if you overheated, and then I could act again. 

And ride an armoured boar into battle! 

It was great. I’ve got the best line in the movie: “Let’s give these bastards a good hammering!” All the other actors were insanely jealous.

For more from Connolly, as well as dozens of other movies, check out the latest issue Total Film, on shelves this Friday. If you’re a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue, and you’ll get exclusive subscriber-only covers delivered directly to your doormat before the magazine hits shelves? What are you waiting for?

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Jordan Farley

I'm the News Editor at Total Film magazine, running the opening pages of every issue where you can read exclusive interviews and see first-look images from the biggest films. I was previously the Community Editor at sci-fi, fantasy and horror movie bible SFX. You'll find my name on news, reviews, and interviews covering every type of movie, from the latest French arthouse release to the biggest Hollywood blockbuster. My work has also featured in Official PlayStation Magazine and Edge. Outside of my day job, I'm a FromSoft fanatic (proudest achievement: beating Malenia solo) and a TV connoisseur (translation: I'll watch anything).