Dominic Monaghan's Online-Only Film THE MILLIONAIRE TOUR
The ABC drama series Lost has been off the air for a year now but fans are still rabid as ever for the show’s cast and creators. That’s why the organizers at Comic-Con International: San Diego decided to hold a panel titled “Totally LOST: One Year Later.” Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse surprised the audience with their presence yet stars Jorge Garcia and Dominic Monaghan, who were also at the pop-culture event, did not.
“You know for me it’s not been one year later, it’s been almost four years later because I left the show at the end of Season 3,” Monaghan told Newsarama, “So it’s a different feeling for me. But it’s great that people are keeping it alive and are still interested in the show.”
The actor was at Comic-Con to promote a new web film he’s involved with called The Millionaire Tour which also stars Bruce Davison, Rick Gomez, Agnes Bruckner and Jordan Belfi. Directed by Inon Shampanier, the film is being produced by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru and is set to be released exclusively online.
Monaghan said his agent told him about the format of the project initially. “And it was something that kind of turned me on a little bit, you know, I think that people are watching movies in different ways and people are approaching the way that they watch TV and the way that they watch movies with a much more expansive kind of vision now, you know? And I wanted to support a company that is very dedicated to being the first people to bring movies and TV to the internet,” he said.
The “Millionaire Tour” is the very scary, real world practice by some criminals in which a taxi cab passenger is temporarily kidnapped and forced to travel around town taking money out of ATMs, maxing out their credit cards and sometimes even being taken back home to be robbed. Like many films and television shows these days, the creators thought it would translate well to the fictional world.
“It’s a story of a couple of con artists that pick up a guy at the airport and take him on what they coin, ‘The Millionaire Tour, which is driving around the city, maxing out his credit cards,” said Monaghan. “Things get out of hand, they wind up picking up the wrong guy and they don’t realize what they’ve done and the story kind of spirals out of control.”
“It’s something that draws on real life and I think these things happen in different parts of the world and you just have to be careful about when to get into a cab,” he continued. “I’m sure we all have kind of a Spidey-sense, like a little bit of intuition. When I think something dodgy is going on I just know something’s up, you know? You always have to keep your wits about you.”
But it’s not Monaghan’s character who should have kept his wits about him in The Millionaire Tour, he takes a departure from his usual roles and plays the bad guy, telling us he had a lot of fun doing so. “It’s just important to me to play everything you know, all different shades. And I’ve played goodies before, I played out-and-out goodies,” he said. “I would assume that most people consider the character I played in Lord of the Rings to be pretty much a goodie, there’s nothing about him that’s that bad. So it’s important for me to play and out-and-out baddie and be convincing at that.”
Speaking of Lord of the Rings, Newsarama asked the actor what it was like seeing the J.R.R. Tolkien excitement start up again with the filming of The Hobbit.
“It’s going to be crazy when it comes out I think more than anything else because right now obviously [director] Pete [Jackson] keeps on lockdown, he’s quite careful about what gets out there but once the movie gets out there I think it will be really exciting,” Monaghan told us. “And it will be nice to watch it as a fan, you know? I’m just delighted that it’s going to get made because there was a long time there where no one was really that sure if it was gonna get made.”
And what about some of his fellow actors returning to their Lord of the Rings roles even though their characters weren’t in The Hobbit? Monaghan said he would have liked to be among them.
“I think that would have been great but I understand why they couldn’t have asked everyone and they asked the people that they asked,” he said. “Obviously in the book we’re not alive, in the film they can kind of take a little bit of artistic license but not too much and I think they did it just right. Those guys are really incredibly writers, they know what they’re doing so you can never really go, ‘Oh wait, I have a better idea!’ because you never have a better idea.”
The idea to distribute The Millionaire Tour solely online is something Monaghan thinks is smart and inevitable.
“Once the film comes out you can watch it whenever you want and however many times you want and at whatever time you want. You don’t have to get there at 8 or get there at 9:30, you know? You can just watch it whenever you want. It can go viral a lot quicker than other projects can,” he said. “There’s a great ability for word of mouth things to happen and people send links to pages and trailers and it’s new and you know when things are new, there’s more of an ability to change because the format is not quite as solidified. It’s not concrete. And I like change, I think it’s important and I just think maybe 30 years from now someone will say, ‘Hey, he was in the first ever online movie,’ and I like being first.”
Although the actor is not on Twitter himself, he finds it to be a powerful tool for marketing a project. “There’s a lot of fake Dominic Monaghan Twitter accounts, which are fakes! And everyone should know that. And there’s a lot of fake Facebook accounts, there’s a lot of fake Skype accounts, there’s a lot of fake IM accounts. There’s a lot of fake ones so I stay away because it’s a little dangerous for me [but] I mean it’s a really amazing website in terms of immediate news and immediate knowledge,” he said “Nowadays everyone wants things immediately. You want to watch a TV show now, you want your news now, you want to go online now, you want to watch that music video now.”
Even though Monaghan did not appear on the Lost panel, he hopes his character Charlie is remembered and that his death meant something to viewers.
“That was the thing that Damon and I spoke about was, someone needs to die that’s important and someone needs to die that no one thinks is going to die and someone needs to die that drives the story because of the death,” he said. “And I was happy to do that because I don’t think if I’d stuck around, Charlie wouldn’t have been remembered in the same way.”
“I think it’s almost like, I mean, I’m not comparing myself to his performance but I think it’s almost like Obi-Wan Kenobi a little bit,” he continued, “He had to go for him to be quite as important. ‘Strike me down I’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.’ [said in his best Alec Guinness impression] So I think that’s key. And it was beautifully written and superbly done so I was happy. I have no problem with sacrificing myself as long as it’s for the greater good.”