Dominic Monaghan goes where the ‘Wild Things’ are
“Lord of the Rings” and “Lost” star Dominic Monaghan is taking on a whole different sort of adventure with “Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan,” his new BBC America documentary series.
The show finds the British actor traveling the world in search of some of the planet’s most exotic — and dangerous — animals. An avid traveler and insect-lover, Monaghan may have found his dream job, he admits.
Metro: Where did the idea for the show come from?
Monaghan: It’s kind of the way that I holiday, to a certain extent. If I’m going somewhere on my own and I can make my own choices of how I’m going to go on holiday, then I’ll pick a place where there is an animal that I’d like to have an interaction with. I’d land in a major city and learn as much as I can about that particular animal, then take a trip to get closer to that animal. [I try to] pick up as much expertise as I can before trying to have that experience.
Seems like something of a dream job.
Yeah, it is. It’s a fantastic experience. But still we’re making a show at the same time. We need to [create] a product at the end of that experience as well, so there are stressful elements to it in terms of getting up early and making sure you get the shots, and there can sometimes be monotony. But that’s all diluted by the fact that you’re going into these beautiful parts of the world and having these amazing experiences with these incredible animals.
Was anything you encountered along the way a particular surprise?
You know, some of the food in Africa was a little hard to take. There weren’t a lot of seasonings, a lot of salt and pepper and sauce or anything like that in Africa, so it was, obviously, having to deal with a slight change in diet. We saw some pretty interesting sights in different countries and some real abject poverty and kids in the midst of all that, which is obviously tough to see any time.
The amount of animals that we were exposed to in Ecuador was a real eye-opener to me. I’ve been to rainforests before, but nothing like being in Ecuador. You were inundated with the natural world. We could’ve made that show in the campsite that we set up to make the program. We didn’t even need to walk into the rainforests. There were just animals everywhere.
What were some of the most interesting animals you came across?
Well, we look for the world’s largest spider in Laos. That was pretty fun. You know, a large, very charismatic, intimidating spider that turned out to be friendlier than I thought it was going to be. We were only the second Western crew to actually have an experience with that spider on film, so that was fun.
How big is the world’s largest spider?
The world’s largest spider is about as big as a dinner plate. It’s definitely a big spider — something that takes your breath away when you see it for the first time.
Is part of the goal here taking the stigma off a lot of these less-appreciated animals?
Yeah, I mean, the point of the show for me is to try and make people feel differently about the things that I’m doing — and maybe they’ll feel differently about them doing it as well, whether that be travel or street food or soccer or going to countries where you don’t speak that language. Obviously, at the heart of all that are stories about animals. I like breaking myths, and I think a lot of these animals — invertebrates and insects in general and reptiles and things like that — have a lot of very monstrous myths attached to them that are simply not true. So I’m a big fan of making people take a second glance at those creatures and not only realize that they’re beautiful and special, but also that they happen to be very important and significant for the planet and we rely on them to pollinate our fruits and vegetables or keep our air clean or till our soil. And people tend to crush them under their feet a lot, and that might not be the best idea of how we behave.