The Desolation of Smaug star without lines: Stephen Hunter
STEPHEN Hunter was plucked from obscurity to star in one of the decade's biggest film franchises.
As one of the 13 actors to portray the band of dwarves as the centre of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, Hunter's acting career has taken a meteoric trajectory.
He even has his own Lego action figure.
But Hunter has yet to say a single line in the Hobbit films. He hasn't even uttered a decipherable word, only grunting and yelling when his character Bombur isn't stuffing his face with food.
"I got an option early on to either fight with the 12 other dwarves for lines or he could start playing some great physical comedy for me," Hunter told APN.
But he says Bombur doesn't need to say anything to make his mark in the films.
"It's all about what you do, your behaviour and point of view as opposed to what you actually say," he said.
"It was a great challenge to have that physical side of things. Because I didn't say anything in that first movie it gave me an opportunity to create the character through what he does. A lot of times I just choose to eat.
"I wanted him to be quite a curious character. He's younger than some of the others, so I always wanted him to be interested and respectful about what was going on, but probably only slightly more than what was on his plate in front of him (laughs)."
The Desolation of Smaug, the second instalment in the Hobbit franchise opening on Boxing Day, features a lot of action as the dwarves, accompanied by their "burglar" Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the wizard, continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain to face the evil dragon Smaug.
The film sees the introduction of the elves Legolas, reprised by Orlando Bloom, and Tauriel, Evangeline Lilly, the Bard played by Luke Evans and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown.
While he might not say anything, Bombur gets his fair chunk of the action.
"Bombur has got some great moments in this film, some great physical gags," Hunter said.
"I've had a few Twitter followers calling him 'Bombur the badass'."
He said The Desolation of Smaug is more fast-paced than the first film, with a series of elaborately choreographed actions sequences.
"It literally hits the ground running," he said.
"The first movie had to set up so much stuff. People had their own opinions of that, but when you get to this one you'll see why they had to set a lot of stuff up for that. There's heaps of action and The Desolation of Smaug certainly sets it up for a big showdown for the next one (The Hobbit: There and Back Again)."
Hunter is enjoying his new-found fame over the past year.
The Sydney-based, Wellington-born actor is starring in a Kiwi telemovie next year and will be travelling to the states early next year for pilot season.
"Now the second one is out I've got a bit more of a profile with more casting directors here which is good," he said.
"It has really given me a leg up."
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens on Boxing Day.