There And Back Again by Sean Astin

When Sean Astin received the call to come in and try out for the part of Samwise Gamgee he was excited and apprehensive.  The excitement stemmed from the fact that the possible job offer was good timing, his career has stalled and good movie roles were few and far between.  Sean was a little apprehensive because although he had heard of the books… he had never read them. 

Who really was Samwise? 

Upon receiving the part, Sean packed his bags for an 18 month stay in New Zealand for the filming of the movies.  While the part was exciting, it was hard work and Sean was frustrated with how little his role was, after all, his hours upon hours on the set took away from his time with his wife and child and the money wasn’t all that great.

This audio is Sean’s telling of the behind the scenes look at the filming of the movies, the actors and the controversy…



Why did I want to listen to this audio?  I am a fan of all things Tolkien and I guess if I say that, that means Tolkien actors as well.  When I first heard of this book I was intrigued as here was Sean who played Samwise, not the biggest role, and that sparked my interest too.  What would he say about his role?  The making of the movies?  Bilbo? 

There And Back Again is indeed Sean’s story.  Well…. scratch that a second.  I just recently picked up on the fact that The Hobbit is officially called The Hobbit, or There And Back Again.  It’s true.  There And Back Again was already taken by Tolkien… sort of, as we all know the book to be known as The Hobbit. 

Oh how I digress….

Anyhoo… While Sean’s story is interesting and I enjoyed hearing all the backstage stuff about the costumes, and how long it takes to get ready, there was an underlining feeling of forcefulness throughout the book….

What do I mean?

On one hand Sean would be talking about how great it was to meet and work with the other actors and then he would be pulling out character flaws about them – “unfriendly, self-absorbed, made him feel unworthy, late to the set…”  To me if felt like Sean was saying one thing and then someone else was telling him to “add more”, give the reader more!!!!”  So he does, by throwing some under the bus… actually, almost everyone in the movie as well as some extra actors not in the movie for good measure (Sorry Johnny Depp, Brendan Fraser…)

I did find There And Back Again interesting and I did like knowing more about the movie, the budgets, the long hours, and the low pay, things I tend not to think about when I am sitting in a theater with my popcorn and diet coke as big as my head staring at the big screen thinking “This is soooo awesome!”  My only regret for Sean Astin is that I think his book may have done harm to relationships and possibly even for future roles as he comes off as having low self-esteem and  paranoid. 

Personally, I like the guy and I like his acting.  I wish him the best in all he does… but to my readers, if you want to try this one – borrow it from the library.

14 thoughts on “There And Back Again by Sean Astin

  1. I saw this on your list and requested it from the library. I’m reading it and was having a hard time, seemed whiny. I’m glad it wasn’t just me and don’t feel bad about my DNF decision.

    FYI: you might want to read a couple of comments I got about BBW. ‘course they might have stopped by here too, I’ll check it out.

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