The Daily Telegraph 13/12/2002
By Oliver Poole
He appears for only three seconds, but a moody
elf in The Lord of the Rings
has inspired a fanatical following on the web.
As Lord of the Rings fans count the days to the
opening of the second
instalment next week, there is a particular group
of die-hard female
enthusiasts who are preparing to scrutinise every
frame in the hope of
catching a glimpse of their favourite character.
Bret McKenzie as "Figwit"
It is not Frodo or Aragorn or even Gandalf, but a
nameless elf whose lack of
dialogue, close-ups or even screen time (he was
on for only three seconds) has
not stopped him becoming the most unlikely cult
hero of the original
The first site dedicated to the character
appeared in March, created by two
university students - Iris Hadad, 23, an Israeli
studying in Britain, and her
friend Sherry de Andres, 31, from south-west
England - who had both become
mesmerised by the moody-looking elf's brief
They dubbed him Figwit as a result of their
original reaction to catching
sight of his fleeting and only appearance in the
film, during the scene at the
Council of Elrond when Frodo agrees to be the
ring bearer. Hadad explains: "It
stands for 'Frodo is great who is that?' "
Now a search on Google.com reveals a staggering
1,300 entries for the name,
including sites such as "The Adventures of
Figwit" and "The Secret Diary of
Figwit". The original - www.figwitlives.net - has
proved so popular that its
creators had to buy extra bandwidth.
"We got a lot of emails from people who thought
they were the only ones who
had noticed that handsome, dark-haired elf,"
Hadad says. "He does stand out."
De Andres adds: "His energetic broodiness worked
its magic on them."
The fuss has left no one as bemused as Bret
McKenzie, the 26-year-old New
Zealand musician who took the part after being
press-ganged into appearing as
an extra by his girlfriend, a secretary at Weta,
the special effects company
created by Lord of the Rings director Peter
"It's so hilarious because it's been propelled by
so little," he said. "I'm
famous for doing nothing."
His fame has in fact already resulted in a
documentary company from New
Zealand following him to the Edinburgh Festival
this year, where McKenzie's
folk music comedy duo Flight of the Conchords
were appearing, at which they
filmed him being mobbed by Figwit fans.
Unfortunately for enthusiasts of this elf, the
film's makers say they do not
think McKenzie appears at all in the second
picture, The Two Towers, which is
released in Britain next Wednesday. Despite an
internet campaign for him to
have an expanded role, all three parts of the
trilogy were shot simultaneously
and filming was largely completed before the
first film was even distributed.
Mark Ordesky, the trilogy's executive producer,
said Jackson had been so
amused by the Figwit phenomenon that he had tried
to bring him back when some
additional shooting had to be done for the second
film, but McKenzie had not
"It's difficult to find good elves. He's quite
striking," Ordesky said.
"Someone said, 'We should track down Figwit.' But
he was out of town."
All is not lost for Figwit fans, however. To the
delight of the figwitlives
website, two extra seconds of the character can
apparently be seen in the
expanded DVD version of the first film, which
went on sale this month, and he
also features briefly in an extra segment on one
of the discs which details
It extols a momentary glimpse of his back, noting
"the lithe and graceful way
he sits down compared to the much less elegant
elf next to him".
"The asthmatics amongst you," it warns, "better
keep your inhalers handy."