For some Tolkien purists, the inclusion of Tauriel—a Sylvan elf played by Evangeline Lilly—in the upcoming Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is bound to be controversial. After all, there were no female elves (or female characters at all, really) in Tolkien’s 1937 novel, and her appearance in the film will no doubt strike some as political correctness run amok.
But as Evangeline Lilly explained to ET Canada“s Sangita Patel, things have changed a lot since 1937, and the idea of putting out a three part, nine-hour-long trilogy without a single female character in it would be inconceivable in 2013. “If I ever have a little girl and she goes to the movies to watch these movies and she sits through nine hours of cinema entertainment without seeing a single female character, that’s not okay today,”; she said. “You can’t send young women that message. I think it’s important that we sort of bridge that gap.”;
Another message that’s important to deliver to young women: Magazine covers which highlight a woman’s posterior and are accompanied by the caption “Best Butt Ever”; with an arrow pointing to the relevant body part are kind of problematic. Unfortunately, that’s the route that Women’s Health Magazine took with for their January cover, and Lilly had the misfortune of being featured front and centre.
“Every time you go to do a new photo shoot, you sort of lay down the ground rules,”; Lilly said. “You explain the kind of image that you want portrayed of yourself, and I don’t know too many women who would approach a women’s magazine and say, ‘The image I’m hoping for is a rear end shot with my butt hanging out of some short shorts.’ That is not what you’re after. You’re kind of after something that’s a little more approachable to other women, a little classier. You’d expect that of a man’s magazine because men like the booty, right? But women are interested in other women’s arms, another woman’s legs, her abs, you know–how she stays healthy.”;
But even so, Lilly doesn’t regard the cover as a complete catastrophe. “I don’t know, it just felt like the wrong thing in the wrong place. But I’m not going to turn my nose up to a compliment. I mean it’s very nice of them to point out that they think that it’s nice. That’s very nice of them to say.”