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Liv Tyler talks The Leftovers & Lord of the Rings

by Christa Ktorides, DIY Magazine, November 2015

DIY spoke to the actress at the recent MCM Birmingham Comic Con

DIY did the unthinkable this past weekend; getting up before 6am on a Sunday and actually leaving the house. Shocking. What could have prised us from the loving embrace of our duvet on a cold and frosty November morning? The vile temptress of MCM Birmingham Comic Con that's what.

Taking place in the famous NEC, the lure of some celebrity guests including the flippin' Six Million Dollar Man himself, Lee Majors and many others was all too tempting. Not to mention that MCM Birmingham Comic Con marked the debut of actress Liv Tyler (The Leftovers, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) on the British comic con scene.

With Season Two of the bonkers but brilliant The Leftovers currently airing every Monday on Sky Atlantic, DIY chatted exclusively with the incredibly warm Tyler about the show and her part as Arwen in the classic, multi-award winning cinematic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.

Based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers comes from Perrotta and Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) and deals with an unexplained global occurrence that saw 2% of the world's population mysteriously vanish. We meet the residents of the town of Mapleton as they attempt to continue their lives three years after the event. With traditional, mainstream religions failing to provide answers many cults have emerged and one such cult, the mute group known as The Guilty Remnant, welcome a new recruit, Meg Abbott (Tyler).

Firstly congratulations on The Leftovers, I've no idea what's going on but I love it!
I haven't seen the past few because I've been travelling and working.

We're behind in the UK and you haven't really been in Season Two yet...
No but I'm coming soon in number 9. I'm coming back.

Liv Tyler

How have the Guilty Remnant changed? I mean Meg gets to speak now which must be an enormous relief to you.
I don't think I'm supposed to. I think I [Meg] decide that I'm going to speak. That's a very good question that I don't have an answer to! Honestly Damon [Lindelof] writes the scripts for us and I'm like: "Why am I doing this? What does it mean?" and it's all sort of unfolding as we shoot and it's hard for me to understand fully everything that's going on.

What was it about Meg that made you want to play her?
She's so interesting. I read the script for the pilot and I loved the feeling of the whole story, it's really up my street. It felt a little Twin Peaksy and Twilight Zone and I loved that element of it and all the people that were involved. So I asked if I could be Meg and they thought that I wasn't right for the part. I went in and read for it and it's so funny because normally I would just go: "Oh, ok." And I don't know what it was about her, because in the pilot there was only originally one page, just one scene and I completely fell in love with her but I didn't even really understand why or what it was. Then when I signed on to do it I had no idea where they were going with the character, what was going to happen and that extended all the way through until this year. So it's a strange process, I just knew that I wanted to jump on the train.

Did you read the book?
I read the book after, yes.

Did that clarify a few things for you? Did you understand things clearer?
Absolutely. A book for me is more about being inside the head of all these different characters and seeing how they're feeling and what they're seeing. I think he does a beautiful job at describing everyone's feelings so well in a way that you can relate to even if you haven't actually experienced.

Season One is based on the book whereas Season Two is mostly original. I know Damon is secretive but have you spoken with him about where Meg is headed?
No. The last time I asked that was the scene where I raped Tom in the back of the van! I said: "Oh my God where are we going with this?" and he said: "Is it ok to not know where we're going and be free just to know where you are right now?" and I was like: "Urgh." [laughs] Because it's so hard to do that but it's kind of an amazing thing and I know that I can trust him so much. So I just learned that I have to accept that and that he will come up with something amazing for me to do and I just have to sit back and wait for it to come.

I have to ask you about Lord of the Rings and the enormous impact it had. Did you ever imagine that these films would be so huge?
I knew that the experience of what we were doing - you could just feel it everywhere - that it had never really been done before. To make three films at once like that and where we were, it was all so new. Everything changed so much as we were making the movie and I'm sure the studios and the whole world is much more advanced than it was at the time. There was almost this feeling like we were doing something for the first time. It had the feeling of almost working on an independent film that was just a passion project. We had quite a lot of money but everyone was doing everything for the first time, trying all these different things and technology and make-up. It was so fun because the team of people were incredible and as it went on and the first film came out and we got to go back and do pick ups that kind of gave everyone more confidence and more experience and we got to try new things so it was really a very unique, special, creative experience. It was so fun to be in New Zealand with all those beautiful people and all that cast and crew, it was such a special time in my life. I wish it had happened later so I could bring my son, I wish he could've seen all of that.

Your son must be watching the films now...
He's almost as tall as I am! I wish that he could've seen us filming them.