"Ah, he was so sweet, "
lilts Liv Tyler, her lips flirting with a smile.
"I just loved him."
Surprisingly, the object of Tyler's new-found affection is about four-foot tall, shrivelled, decidedly mental and 500 years old. He's Gollum, and a five-minute preview of the character has really got under the skin of the 25 year-old actress who plays Arwen.
"He's going to blow people away!"
Tyler carries the satisfied look of someone who has proved herself. There was heaps of nay-saying directed in her general direction prior to Fellowship's launch, yet she came out of it one of the many triumphs. Totally snagging the English accent, the Elven nobility and the tonsil-twisting fillips of the Elvish tongue, she proved a bonus, not the potential handicap, for Jackson.
"Yeah, that's satisfying, "
she says candidly,
"especially because there was so much I couldn't say before. They weren't sure where they were taking my character and it was frustrating. I'd done all this training - there was this idea of a Xena-type warrior princess kind of figure - but in the end she was more aloof and romantic. I love how it turned out. I'm pleased people like her."
For The Two Towers, the ante is upped in her relationship with Aragorn. Now her father, Elrond, is forcing her to make a choice between him and the boyfriend:
"It gets far more complicated, but love wins out, "
Away from the hurly-burly of Elf-relations, Tyler has recently finished a small part on Jersey Girl, Kevin Smith's romance starring J.Lo and Ben Affleck; something she really enjoyed, although one that was surely a grungier sort of experience that the epic shoot for Rings.
"No! I always found on this film, that even though it's one of the biggest films ever made, that it felt like a small independent film in a way,"
"Because of the nature of where we were and how dedicated everyone was. There weren't a lot of perks. It all got really kind of down and dirty at times. We didn't have huge trailers and all these excess things."