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There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

2.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: MacMillan Audio; Abridged edition (Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593975368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593975364
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1.4 x 15.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,556,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Refreshing ... a much better sense of an actor's life than a hundred kiss 'n' tells' -- Starburst

A highly compelling and involving tale -- Film Review

Absolutely fabulous stuff! -- Star magazine

Fans of Peter Jackson's majestic trilogy will lap it up -- Total Film

Full of titbits, tales and tantrums from the set, it's a great insight into everything that happened...during filming -- SFX --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Much has been written about Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings - the highest-grossing trilogy of all time - but, until now, there hasn't been such a personal, in-depth account from the set.
When Sean Astin, veteran Hollywood actor of over 30 movies including The Goonies, and Rudy, landed the part of Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, he knew it was going to be different to anything he'd ever worked on before. Here he shares his heartfelt opinions on his early movies, how he got the part of Sam at that point in his career, and what it was like to be on set for nearly two years of his life. How did he and the other cast members get along? What were the excitements and the dangers they faced during filming? What happened the evening that Elijah Wood lost the keys to his room? How did Sir Ian McKellen cope when he didn't like the music the hobbits listened to during make-up and what happened when the crew considered striking?
Revealing and immensely readable, There and Back Again is the behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to be involved in the making of one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A better title for this book would have been "Me! Me! Me" or "Poor me!" or "Three years of imaginary slights from fellow cast members revisited".
For fans of the movie franchise this reveals some things that have never been discussed in public before and as such constitutes a 'must have', but when it comes to the real 'meat' of acting in the movies, from Astin or any other cast member, this is very much an offering for vegetarians. Instead what one gets is 'the private diary of Sean Astin, aged 14 3/4' - or at least that's how it reads. Despite the impression that this is a book about LOTR it's over a hundred pages before Astin really gets onto the subject, and then we're into a long barrage of 'damning with faint praise' or long rants about imagined slights from fellow actors. At one point Astin argues that he's not a Hollywood brat, but this book seems to make a very strong case that he is - and an insecure, arrogant, bitter, hypocritical and self-obsessed one at that.
Most of Astin's fellow-actors are criticised over extremely trivial things. So we get complaints about Mortensen's 'trench warfare' in bombarding the writers with suggestions, complaints about Bloom not stopping a conversation with a Hollywood bigwig at Cannes when the obviously-more-important Mr Astin arrives, or complaints about McKellen and Holm (real actors, Sean!) not having the hypocrisy to repay his 'Your acting's fantastic' compliment.
Given that large sections of the book are given over to public apologies to those he's abused in interviews in the past (Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis) you'd think he'd have known better and learnt from past mistakes, but alas not.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Sean Astin is best known to film geeks around the world as Sam Gamgee, the lovable gardener in "Lord of the Rings." But there's a man behind the hobbit, and in "There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale," Astin gives us a glimpse of his life, his work, his family, and his time during the making of the immortal film trilogy.

Astin was born into a Hollywood family -- his mother was Patty Duke, and the guy he thought was his biological father was John Astin. But his early family life was marred by Duke's manic-depressive illness, and the question of who his biological father was (he now calls four men "Dad"). He made his movie debut in "The Goonies" when he was thirteen, and continued acting in various movies including "Rudy," the recent goofy romance "50 First Dates," and even created a sweet short film, "The Long and Short of It."

In 1998, Astin got the role of a lifetime -- Samwise Gamgee, hobbit Frodo Baggins' loyal pal and pillar of strength. So Astin gained weight, packed up his wife and daughter, and went to idyllic New Zealand for eighteen months. In this book, Astin reveals the hardships, the revelations, and the friendships from the vast movie shoot, and what came after.

People just looking for more behind-the-scenes movie dirt may be initially disappointed by "There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale," since it focuses a lot on Astin's non-"Rings" life. But this isn't just a "Rings" story -- it's Astin's story. He focuses not just on the "Rings" trilogy, but on his own struggles and triumphs. And his life story is an interesting read that seems to mirror Astin's own personality: erudite, funny, friendly, sad and family-oriented.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is of two minds. It wants to tell you about this great epic battle in New Zealand that produced this astonishing trilogy going on to conquer the world. And it wants you to tell about the life and times of Sean Astin, the director-actor. It shoud have been a rare opportunity to travel with a fellow director into this epic journey, meeting that other director and actors and getting a first-hand account of the makings of Lord of the Rings. But it didn't quite work out that way.
It is indeed a journey, a bumpy road full of unexpected twists and turns. But the authors (it was co-written by Joe Layden, who'd also written ""The Rock says...") didn't get it quite right. The problem is that a reader may expect indeed a book about the filming of this epic and Sean Astin's role in it or view about it. Instead it has become an (auto)biography of Astin, with Lord of the Rings as background. And that's too much. I think Astin is a gifted director, and his role of Samwise Gamgee in the movies is admirable. But just when you think that you''re packed to enjoy this bumpy ride the author is digressing. A lot. It is really annoying that he can't get a straight story out of it. Time and again we're thrown back to Astin's other endeavours as actor or director, following out-of-sync roads to other journeys including the path of self-realization, marred by a tone of whining and moaning about the bad things in his life.
This I could bear if the author(s) had stuck to the idea of a book about the life and times of Astin, but now it is sold on the bandwagon that is called "Lord of the Rings", and that doesn't sound right. I've the feeling that Astin, a director in his own right, never has gotten beyond that part.
Astin has the right to write from his point of view as director-actor. But pride of place should have been Lord of the Rings. Not the other way around, for then you're onto a circular road, narrower than the Ring ever has been.
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