Please help me spot my pet rat, Orville, onscreen in the Hobbit films.
In February 2012, my pet rat Orville was hired for two days' filming by Three Foot Seven Ltd, the production company that was at that time making the Hobbit films. We didn't get to go on set; he was picked up and dropped off from our home by his agent. His white belly and socks were dyed black, and Marmite was put in his fur. In August 2013, we received through the post a publicity shot of Gimli, signed by John Rhys Davies and dedicated to Orville.
Clearly, Orville is the real star of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. But where is he? Dutifully I have traipsed to the cinema to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Although the films were rich in animals, I could not find Orville. The only possible explanation is that he must be in the third film.
I NEED YOUR HELP
Our last chance approaches: please, if you're watching the final Hobbit film, keep a weather eye out for Orville, and let me know if you spot him. Together we can find Orville.
To help you get a sense of how Orville appears onscreen, here's a short film I made about him and The Hobbit Chronicles by Daniel Falconer of Weta Workshop:
STAY IN TOUCH
***UPDATE*** Excellent work from my Tweeps and the good folks at TheOneRing.net indicates that Orville is most likely in a scene at Laketown. Keep your eyes peeled!
Didn't they tell you which scene he'd be in?
No. Orville was picked up from our home and dropped off again at the end of the day by his agent, who had signed an NDA and wasn't allowed to tell us anything, other than he'd been used for filming by Three Foot Seven. We didn't sign anything.
How much did Orville get paid?
$50 a day. He donated his earnings to the New Zealand Rat Rescue.
Why was Orville covered in Marmite?
His agent was under a strict NDA so we're not sure. We can only speculate that it was some form of ratty makeup. Curiously, Marmageddon occurred soon afterwards...
How come John Rhys-Davies sent you a signed photo?
Because my mother met him and told him all about Orville (she posted it to us).
Are you definitely sure he wasn't in one of the first two films?
No. I did see them both at the cinema but I don't own the DVDs and I haven't seen the extended editions. If you have, and if you have spotted Orville, please please do get in touch!
Can I meet Orville / audition him for my next film?
Sadly, Orville died last year of old age (rats typically only live for two or three years). We can honour his memory by scouring the third Hobbit film for his big scene.