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Elf Warning

by Beri Dreyton, UK's Sunday Express, November 2002.

Liv Tyler loves Tolkien's characters - although she's a bit dubious about the elves, she tells Beri Dreyton.

Lord of The Rings fans were up in arms when the daughter of outrageous Aerosmith singer Steve Tyler was cast as elf princess Arwen Undomiel in the trilogy - until they witnessed Liv Tyler's brilliant performance in last year's The Fellowship Of The Ring.
The 25-year-old actress - who is engaged to Roy Langdon, the singer with Leeds band Spacehog - has spent the past 12 months flying back and forth to New Zealand to finish off the second movie, but she took time out to talk about her Two Towers romance with Viggo Mortensen's human warrior Aragorn, Hollywood's obsession with ageing, and the mystery of elves...

Did you ever have any doubts about doing the movie?

No, I was really excited. You tend to feel nervous and unsure about everything - you're nervous and you're not sure what's going to happen. Lord of The Rings in particular was scary because of the length of time involved. That was the hardest part for me, wondering whether I could dedicate that much time working on something. And it has turned out to be more time than I ever dreamed of. I mean. I thought I would only be working on it for nine months. It's already been three years - and we're still working on it!
In June this year we all went back to New Zealnd to do some pick-ups and looping [voiceovers], then I went to London and did more looping and recorded a song for the film, and now I'm here doing the press - it's been a long time. Once that's all finished we'll have to do it all again for the third film. The Return Of The King. So it's definitely a lot of work, but it's really wonderful.
At the end of the day, you have to appreciate that things like this do not happen very often in actors' lives and it's nice to have some consistency because usually you work with people, then you don't see them ever again. Doing Lord Of The Rings has been quite emotional in that way, getting to go down to New Zealand and see all the crew again.
I was crying when I left because I really enjoy working with everyone, we have such a close relationship. It'll be sad when it's over.

You can tell there's a bond between you all, Did you, Catt Blanchett and Miranda Otto join your male stars in getting tattoos once the bulk of filming was over?

I don't have a tattoo and no piercing. I have my ears pierced and I can hardly wear earring. I think that a lot of people when they're young want piercings and tattoos and they regret it when they’re older. It's better to wait.

Was that your dad's advice?

Oh God, no. My mom [Seventies groupie Bebe Buell] got a tattoo on her ankle and I cried when she showed it to me. I was really upset. I was like, that's gonna be there forever! It's around her ankle and has my name on it - I couldn't believe that. Personally, I like flesh, I'm not into tattoos.

We don't know much about the elves Do they smoke or even eat?

They don't sleep, they don't eat, we don't even know if they have any private parts. Maybe they're like Ken and Barbie dolls. You know, you lift up their clothes and there's nothing there.

So what is ser like for elves?

Oh my God! I'm not awake enough for this - I went out last night because my boyfriend had a gig and he didn't go on until midnight, so I didn't go to bed until three in the morning. Then I suddenly woke up and I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be asked a lot of really scary questions today and I'm not going to be able to handle it.'

OK, well let's talk about the love story between you and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) in The Two Towers.

I really love the story of Arwen and Aragorn. It's really beautiful, because of the love they share and the sacrifice they make to be together, and the way she encourages him and helps him fulfill his destiny. I think that's really beautiful.

Have you sacrificed anything for love?

I think in the whole world all we have is each other. It's like, we have careers and everyone wants to look like somebody else, and at the end of the day that stuff's really not important. It's fun and it fills time, but for me the people I care about are by far the most important thing to me. I would kill for them.

There seems to be a lot of sadness for Arwen.

There is a lot of sadness for her. Yeah, definitely. This film is nice foe me. For the character, there's a real arc in the three movies. As the films progress Arwen has to make a choice between mortality and immortality, love and life. It is really difficult. But it was great for me to play it.
You must have given the struggle between mortality and immortality a lot of thought. Right. And I have come to the conclusion that it would suck to be 3,000 years old. Imagine that. The idea of the elves is that they've seen so much. They've had to see so numb pain - and yet so much beauty at the same time.

What do you think about Hollywood's obsession with staying young?

The whole world is fascinated by it. Everybody wants to live forever and be perfect, and it's just not possible. And I think we'd all be really dull if we were perfect. I like the fact that everybody's different and has flaws.

So you don't think much of actresses who have plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery looks horrible. I just don't understand it. All these women, they try to make themselves look younger and they just look older. Why bother?

Have you experienced that pressure?

There's pressure all the time. And that's stressful. It's stressful going to a premiere having to look perfect, having everybody scrutinise what you're wearing. Just having to put all that thought into what you're going to wear is really stressful. But at the same time, you want to be yourself and not really care.

You look great, but why does Hollywood put pressure on actress to be super-thin?

Well, I'm 5ft 10in, I'm a US size 8 (UK 10) and I'm considered a big girl! A lot of it has to do with what people want to see. When actresses do magazines, they're air brushed.
If you presented the real image, people might go: "Oh God, she's got cellulite," or "Look at her stomach!" People criticise those things. But, we're given the bodies of our parents, and there's nothing we can do.

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