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Marriage runs rings around acting
By Eileen Condon
December 3, 2003
News Scotsman
It's been one of the most successful movie series in screen history and the eagerly-awaited third film in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy looks like smashing box office records. Return of the King was premiered to the world in Wellington on Monday, and 100,000 people lined the streets of the New Zealand city to welcome the stars of the film which has put their country firmly on the movie map.

It was an emotional day for all involved, but particularly for Liv Tyler, the stunning brunette, who plays Arwen, the immortal elf in the blockbuster films. She says: "When they first offered me the part of Arwen the elf princess I had to sit down and think about whether I was willing to work on this for a year and a half as it seemed such a long time to give, but actually it’s been more like four and a half years, with the filming and then all the promotion for each part.

"During that time you grow so close to people they become almost like family, so it’s hard to think that it’s all over. It’s a combination of so sad and so emotional - when we watched the movie I cried for the last hour."

Not that she’s shedding any tears now. In fact, Tyler can’t seem to wipe the smile off her face. Those famous voluptuous lips break into a beaming grin at the mention of her new husband, Leeds-born musician Royston Langdon. She says: "It’s been an incredible year for me. I married a wonderful man who is just so nice and supportive.

"We moved to New York and we’ve adopted a King Charles puppy, who is so cute I’m crazy about him. Roy named him Neal and he’s nine months old and getting bigger and cuter everyday."

Tyler married 30-year-old Langdon, lead singer with the group Spacehog, at a private ceremony in the Caribbean in March and it’s clear domesticity agrees with the 26-year-old actress. But that’s understandable when you consider her background.

Her father is legendary Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler but her mother, Bebe Buell, raised her to believe she was the daughter of rocker Todd Rundgren, until she learned the truth when she was ten. Now the star admits her upbringing means she craves security and stability.

She says: "I always felt loved by my parents and was grateful to have all these incredible people and creative energy around me, but I also longed for some kind of normality in my life.

"I was so aware of the mistakes my parents made. My dream as a little girl was to have a family and children and animals and someone in my life who was my friend and my partner. Now that I’ve finally got married and we have our house, everything that I ever wanted is in place."

However, even her new-found domestic bliss does have its drawbacks, as the besotted actress cannot bear to be apart from her husband when she’s filming. She spent more than a year in New Zealand making the Lord Of The Rings trilogies and admits it was tough.

"I did suffer at times and felt quite homesick being so far away from my home and family," she recalls. "It was almost like a life commitment and there was no turning back."

Added to that, Tyler also came in for some early flak from critics who didn’t believe she was the right choice to play Arwen - a character who only appears in the appendix of JRR Tolkein’s classic book. "It was hard at times," she says of the criticism. "But I feel really good about how it all turned out. I had a great time working with everyone on the film. It was never easy, but it was worth it and now that the films are completed I just feel really happy to have been a part of them." Recalling the first time she realised the impact the trilogy had on people, she says: "I was staying with some friends in England and it was New Year.

"My husband, Roy, and I were sleeping, and I woke to the sound of our friends’ two little boys. They were going around the bedrooms opening the doors and looking in. When they got to our door, one little boy went to open it and the other said, ‘No! Don’t open that door. The princess is sleeping in there.’ It made my heart leap out of my chest. I think that was the first time I really realised the impact these films had on people."

In the third and final film, Tyler joins forces again with co-stars Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom to fight the forces of evil. Her character has to implore her father Elrond (Hugo Weaving) to assist her mortal beau, mighty warrior Aragorn to claim his rightful place as ruler of Middle Earth.

And fans are in for a treat as the dazzling battle scenes promise to outdo those in the first two movies.

However, even though Lord Of The Rings might be over, Tyler’s career is taking off in a big way. Although she was a rising star before the trilogy, appearing in Bernardo Bertolucci’s acclaimed film Stealing Beauty and the cult movie One Night at McCool’s, it’s her role as Princess Arwen which has made her a household name. Not surprisingly, lucrative offers are coming in thick and fast, including a contract as the face of a new perfume and skin range from Givenchy. The fashion house has even dubbed her the new Audrey Hepburn.

Tyler says such comparisons are "overwhelming, beyond flattering". She says: "I have always been a big admirer of Audrey Hepburn. She was truly inspiring, and always so herself.

"Her charm was that she was so real and never afraid to speak for herself. And she used her power and time in such a positive way, by doing so much work for others."

But although the deal cements her position as one of the most successful actresses in the world, Tyler isn’t about to let it turn her head. She knows first-hand how brutal Hollywood can be, having been told more than once in her career she should lose weight.

"A very famous editor once told me that if I could stay skinny, I’d be bigger than Gwyneth Paltrow," she says, looking incredulous. "I was like, ‘I don’t want to be Gwyneth Paltrow, I want to be me.’ I don’t have a weight problem and I never have and just because I don’t starve myself and I’m not a size four doesn’t mean that I have a weight problem.

"I refuse to submit myself to Hollywood standards. To the rest of the world I am slim, and I like the way I am."

Indeed Tyler, a curvaceous 5ft 10ins, bucks the trend for stick-thin Tinseltown actresses but flatly refuses to conform to the current standards.

She says: "I don’t like actresses who transform themselves to fit in with a physical standard which rules at any given moment. These women don’t realise that they lose their appeal. A lot of people are afraid to be themselves, maybe because they lack confidence."

That’s not something the talented Liv Tyler is suffering from right now. She’s in huge demand on the work front thanks to Lord of the Rings. She’s set to star with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and Matt Damon in the up-coming Jersey Girl and next year she’ll start work on Steve Buscemi’s film Lonesome Jim.

But while she’s thrilled at the way her career is going, her main priority these days is being at home making sweet music with her new husband.

"One of my greatest pleasures is sitting around the house and watching him compose at the piano or just experiment at the keyboard. I love seeing that creative process," she smiles happily.
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