While some diehard fans follow the career moves of Twilight Saga cast members with fervor, I find myself more interested with the post-franchise careers of the cast of my favorite movie trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings. Especially the Hobbits. I’ve written often about how Elijah Wood, beyond starring in the FX series Wilfred, has gotten into producing and has turned his Frodo image on its ear with roles like the slasher he plays in Maniac. Dominic Monaghan found his calling on the TV show Wild Things, crawling into godawful places to grab onto dangerous-looking oversized insects and animals. Now, Sean Astin, of Samwise Gamgee fame, has taken to Kickstarter for his passion project. That is hosting Vox Populi, a political interview show on the web. Astin, who still makes his living acting and is currently part of the cast of Guillermo del Toro’s FX pilot The Strain, is looking for $30,000 from Kickstarter to take his web show to the next level. That means hiring a couple of people so he doesn’t have to do everything himself.
Astin, who said he’s a Democrat, got the politics bug from his mother, Patty Duke, who was a president of SAG. He said he’s developed a knack for matching guests with opposing viewpoints, and guiding them through discussions that don’t consist of each trying to shout over the other, which happens on pretty much every Fox News Channel show I’ve watched. Aston’s segments last two hours. “I’ve done 35 shows so far, and I’ve got 12,000-15,000 loyal listeners each week,” he said. “I decided yesterday was the time to launch Kickstarter, the day of the government shutdown, when the entire world focused on how the most important lawmakers don’t have the ability to work within a system and communicate effectively. I feel I have a calling, to sit with people who have conflicting viewpoints, and get them to communicate even if they disagree with the other person. I’ve done all of this myself, from choosing the topics, to researching and pulling clips and booking guests. It would be nice to get a booker, a producer, and a social media person to help build this into something.” Astin has always played the underdog, but compared to the runt who made the Notre Dame football team (Rudy) and the sidekick Sam who helped Frodo deliver the ring to the fires of Mordor, raising $30,000 doesn’t seem that hard a task, particularly when Astin raised 20% of that total in the first day.