There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale

There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale - 'Sean Astin',  'Joe Layden' Unfortunately, this book suffers from the author's apparent needs to 1) come off as modest and self-effacing and 2) not offend or piss off anyone in the movie industry.

I was fascinated to read an insider's story about what it had been like to film my favorite movie trilogy of all times - Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. And who better to tell this tale than Samwise Gamgee himself, actor Sean Astin.

Rather than a narrative or collection of anecdotes about what filming such an epic film had been like, Astin meanders all over the place, introducing event and industry people who had little to do with the movies but in some way affected his life. Too, Astin spends inordinate amount of time confessing how he often felt jealous of other actors and directors or envious of their talents/breaks/successes/whathaveyou as some sort of explanation from what I can only imagine had been some douchey behaviour on his part.

Whenever Astin came remotely close to criticizing a fellow actor or director, he was quick to clarify that his first impression had been wrong or that he was in some way at fault for his feelings or that, really, despite behaving like a jerk, that person really was quite a great guy/girl. It was as if Astin feared that everyone would read this book and if he pissed off the wrong person, his career might be in jeopardy.

Too, Astin would stick a toe over the line of boastfulness only to then throw a 180 degree turn and spend paragraphs reiterating how his accomplishments are nothing to be proud of and that others surely would do at least as well. It reminded me much of a person who purposely insults himself only so that others will reassure him of his own greatness.

These problems conspired to create not an insider's glimpse into the adventure of making TLotR trilogy but a faintly sycophantic, self-promoting plea for recognition for his part in something great.