Known widely for his role as Bifur in the Hobbit movies, recently I got a chance to talk to William Kircher at the Madison Wizard World Comic Con. He shared his thoughts on the Hobbit franchise, lying to get into drama school, and the band he currently performs in.
Jim: Right from the start I need to verify something with you William, did you lie in order to get into drama school?!
William: It’s absolutely true, and it was a silly thing to do. I was a sort of grown up 16. When the application arrived I thought I was 17, so when I got into drama school instead of being 16 going on 17, I was 17 going on 18. I got in. I had to live with a lie for about five months and when I thought they wouldn’t pick me out is when I told them.
Jim: You told them! They didn’t even find out on their own?
William: Haha, I told them. They were really upset, but they didn’t kick me out.
Jim: It worked in the long run, here you are.
William: It did. Here I am.
Jim: Aside from acting, do you still do some work behind the scenes with Screen Adventures?
William: Oh no, I did a long time ago. I went into producing for quite a while, but it’s a difficult job. Before I got the Hobbit job, I was actually line producing for a documentary drama. What was good about it is that I learned a completely different side of the industry. Strangely enough, I actually stopped acting for seven years. When I came back I rediscovered this entire passion for it. It also got me in my head, so I don’t think like an actor anymore. I think like an actor and a producer. You have an idea how the business works from a completely different angle. It does actually help, makes you a bit more relaxed and not as desperate as an actor.
Jim: That’s a unique points of view.
William: It is. My wife is still a talent agent. I still talk to actors who have no understanding what that side of the business is like and what works for them. I know all that backwards, because I’ve hired and auditioned actors. I have rediscovered my passion for acting. I work really hard on my auditions, and make sure four days out that I know the script backwards. I research the character, so when I go into the audition room I treat it as a performance. I treat it as a chance to show that I really know what I’m doing. Of course you don’t necessarily get the part, but the other thing I do with my wife is have a band called the California Dreamers and we play all the time in New Zealand, and we are coming to play in Hollywood.
Jim: That sounds like a fun gig.
William: We do late 60’s and early 70’s, it’s a cover band. It’s more of a show than it is a band, as it’s more theatrical. Check us out on our Facebook website and you will see the pictures of how we costume up. We also do a lot of harmony stuff.
Jim: Is this a passion project of yours?
William: My wife dragged me kicking and screaming into this about 5 years ago, because she is a rock singer, so she’s the professional singer. I’m more of an actor that can sing, and she trains me up and works me really hard (laughs). It is a lot of fun though.
Jim: How has the Hobbit series transformed your life?
William: Well, I’m in Madison Wisconsin talking to you right now, so that’s how it’s transformed my life. I get to do a lot of travel, meet people, and I’m very proud to be associated with something that will go down in history as one of the 13 dwarfs in the Hobbit.
Jim: Why do you think this franchise resonates so much with people?
William: It’s a kind of coming of age story, so everyone relates to that. It’s like a child growing up, it’s like somebody discovering themselves. We all have that journey to make in our lives. It’s why I think people relate to it so strongly.
Jim: Any projects you are working on?
William: No, just that and California Dreamers. I’m doing a major advertising campaign in New Zealand as an actor. I’m hitting to Germany in April for Hobbit Con, which is a Hobbit based convention
For more information on The California Dreamers check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheCaliforniaDreamers