Actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson trades the Shire’s misty mountains for a fantasy island in Amazon Prime’s prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Read our Q&A to get to know the British-born actress. But first, the basics:
- Age: 37
- Current Home: Los Angeles. I’m a Valley Girl.
- Go-to-eats: Sushi joints and tacos.
- Kiwi slang 101: “Sweet as.” Short for “sweet as honey.”
- Hobby: I have a bit of a travel bug.
The secrecy around The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power rivals the codes to the nuclear football.
The story’s been a secret that the cast and crew have all had to carry since February 2020. Now I’m about to go all in and finally say what we were up to when we were filming on the other side of the world in New Zealand. I play the Regent Queen Míriel. She rules the island kingdom of Númenor, which is part of the Tolkien lore.
On the set of what’s rumored to be the priciest series ever.
You’re definitely going to see Middle Earth on screen. This isn’t a small, little adventure. It’s epic in scale and scope with a whole new generation from Tolkien’s canon of lore. The story takes place in the fabled Second Age, before the events of The Hobbit and LOTR. It’s Tolkien’s take on the myth of Atlantis, with all the fantasy genre magical dust sprinkled on it.
Does Queen Míriel help hobbits triumph over dark forces?
It’s complicated. A Regent Queen is not fully in power yet. Essentially, I’m trying to lead my people and decide which direction this society is going to take. It’s a fork-in-the-road moment.
How does a cast of Tolkien creatures blow off steam?
My one regret is that I didn’t get to do karaoke with my cast-mates in New Zealand. We talked about it but got busy with filming. I’ll take any opportunity to sing. I have a deep catalog. I can go Cher’s “Believe,” I can go anything Lady Gaga and a little ’90s rap.
Got any karaoke tips?
You’ve got to read the crowd and go with the vibe. But I’m shameless when it comes to karaoke. I’m this close to buying a machine for my home.
Anything you want to clear up from your Wiki page?
I am going to use this opportunity to clarify that I did not train with the Navy SEALs. I did training that was tied in with one of the tests the SEALs take. And like a game of telephone, that got turned into “She was trained by Navy SEALs.” So it seems like I was holding my breath underwater for five minutes and carrying sacks of grain across hot deserts. Though I do love that as a myth.
No heroic grain-hauling scenes in LOTR?
I did train hard for the series, from horseback riding to a little bit of sword work.
Two words: Comic-Con.
I’m sure I’m about to have a lot of interesting experiences. I’m expecting passionate fans. And I appreciate it because it’s coming from this place of excitement. Tolkien’s stories hold so much meaning for people.
Are you a longtime Tolkien stan?
I’m new to this world, to be honest. Now I’m fully immersed.
Ordering coffee in Elvish?
Not that far, but my cousin and I went to Oxford University in England, where Tolkien was a professor, to do our own LOTR tour. We strolled around campus and made a pilgrimage to his gravesite. Then we went to the Eagle and Child tavern where he used to hang out, prepared to have a pint in the professor’s honor. But it was closed. I’ll have to make another trip.
The series hits the screen on Sept. 2. That’ll be a huge night.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series stands on its own two feet. The audience should come with popcorn. They should come with tissues. There isn’t anything comparable to this show on TV or streaming right now.
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