Continuing in their quest to make their mark on “The Lord of the Rings” franchise, The Road to the Shire team has shown Frodo-like persistence to be cast as extras in the upcoming film by Peter Jackson, “The Hobbit.”
Students have been entertained by the antics of the team since they celebrated Bilbo Baggin’s birthday in September by going bare-foot for an entire day.
Their unique style of advertising is creating a lot of attention. With their goal so close to being achieved, they are making an extra effort.
Jonathan Wright, an advertising major from Honolulu, and one of the Hobbits himself, said they have reached more than 100,000 people and have had contact with one of the media representatives of the franchise.
“He wants to collaborate with us on the promotions,” Wright said. “But he wants to contain us. We don’t want to be contained.”
The Hobbits were recently featured on the official blog of the movie. Wright said he believes this is good sign, but they aren’t satisfied.
“We haven’t been invited to be extras yet but we are planning as if we are going to be,” he said.
They are looking at plane tickets and recently applied for work visas in New Zealand. Wright said even if they don’t know for certain they will be cast as extras, they are going to fly there anyway to be waiting if opportunity presents itself.
“We are clearing all the barriers,” Wright said. “So there is no reason for them to say no. We are going.”
They are initiating a Twitter blitz to get the attention of Ellen Degeneres and hopefully get invited on her show.
“Ellen Degeneres is notorious for helping people online,” Wright said.
They got the idea from one of their friends Allie Shields, a nursing major at Utah Valley University. Last year she wrote Degeneres in hopes of getting on the show and in turn Degeneres sent her to “The American Music Awards” as a reporter.
Wright said her experience was amazing and that kind of exposure could help the Hobbits gain more support.
“She met Usher,” he said. “One of her friends told him she had never been kissed and Usher said you want to change that right now? Usher kissed her.”
Wright said they have placed cardboard cut outs in the BYU Bookstore, the Eyring Science Center, the Benson Building and nearly everywhere on campus, to encourage students to tweet at Degeneres on their behalf.
“The whole strategy is to thank her for all the cool things she has done,” Wright said. “We want everyone to tweet @TheEllenShow with the hashtag #hostthehobbits in the hopes that she will have us on her show.”
Mitchell Stevens, an advertising major from Salt Lake City, said they need more help to accomplish their goal.
“If we were to be hosted on the Ellen show, that would be huge,” Stevens said. “Not only would it help us make the final push to being extras, but it would spread our story to a massive audience that follows Ellen and thus enable many more fans to interact with the Hobbit movies. That’s what this is all about … fans, and giving them an opportunity to interact with these movies while also providing entertainment.”
Many students have taken notice and want to help.
Taylor Sant, a senior exercise science major from Atlanta, said he doesn’t really care about “The Lord of the Rings” but he likes the hobbits.
“I think they are funny,” he said. “Anyone who can dress up like a hobbit regularly and walk around campus has got my respect. I’m going to tweet at Ellen.”