BEFORE reaching their final destination and facing the dragon, the Dwarves make a stop at Lake-town. This is the town where one Bard lives.

Played by Luke Evans, this character is an enigma. A popular character in the book, there’s more to Bard than meets the eye. For the role, Evans was able to retain his Welsh accent as Jackson made the citizens of Dale, who fled to Lake-town when it was destroyed by the dragon Smaug, speak in the same accent as Evans.

Did you come across the work of J.R.R. Tolkien as a teenager?

Yes, just The Hobbit. The Lord Of The Rings terrified me too much, just the sheer size of it!

How does your character, Bard, come into the story, and why does he help the Dwarves?

You meet him exactly as you meet him in the book, which is nice. The Dwarves crash their barrels on the edge of the river and don’t know where they are. They are a bit disorientated and look up, and all of a sudden there is this huge, ominous figure peering down with an arrow pointing at them. He is a giant compared to them because they are so small. That’s how you meet him.

Is Bard out for himself at the beginning?

He is. But when he comes across these 13 Dwarves and a Hobbit, he knows that this is a big deal. How is he going to get them all in to Lake-town? And, yes, he wants to make it worth his while, saving them, so he makes a deal with them. Bard is not stupid. He is a very savvy, street-wise character and that is why he has survived for as long as he has.

What does your casting in these films mean to you on a personal level?

It is hard to put it into words, to be honest, with what has happened to me in these last five years. If you had asked me six years ago what I would have been doing, I would not have even remotely thought I would be in this world, to have been part of this legacy.

Everybody knows about Peter Jackson, The Hobbit movies and The Lord Of The Rings films being made in New Zealand, and to actually have been part of it for such a long period, to live there and to have friends that I will have for life because of that experience, is an amazing thing.

I always felt very envious of listening to the stories of Elijah (Wood) and Viggo (Mortensen) and how they just lived there and lived the life and had this incredible experience and saw things they would never have seen.

I feel that I have had that experience and feel very, very lucky to have had it and I will always have that with me. I feel that New Zealand is my second home.

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