I spent Saturday morning at the LA Zoo with Dominic Monaghan, host of BBC America's Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.
Most widely known for playing Hobbit ‘Merry Brandybuck,’ in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or as ‘Charlie Pace’ on the hit ABC show, Lost, Monaghan has been working on a different kind of production lately. In 2012, he embarked on a journey around the world to educate and exhilarate his audience, while having the adventure of a lifetime.
Monaghan was hosting an early screening in the LA Zoo’s Witherbee Auditorium of the second season premiere of a nature show that he created as a love letter to animals. Wearing a terrifying t-shirt, featuring Ronald McDonald as The Joker, and a huge grin, he regaled us with behind-the-scenes stories, and demonstrated his exuberance for this very personal project.
The son of a Biology teacher, Monaghan has loved wildlife since he was a child. Though he says his favorite animal is the ant, an insect that “falls to the right when intoxicated,” he gets really excited about snakes of all kinds, and says that he doesn’t feel afraid around the animals, even those that could kill him. He isn’t living the typical, well-pampered life of a Hollywood star. It’s dirty and hot in all the ‘wrong’ ways, and he is often in real danger. He travels to remote, exotic, and beautiful locations, searching for wild animals to view, and sometimes interact with, in their natural habitats. He is gone for long periods at a time, without seeing family or friends, because the message he wants to send is that important to him.
He hopes to teach kids and adults to appreciate the beauty, and respect the delicacy, of the world around us. It is a truly exciting show, full of fun facts about animals, dangerous encounters, and touching moments with humanity. Don’t get me wrong, despite the crazy conditions he is having a blast, which makes the show even better. Monaghan is charming and funny, and a joy to watch; he makes learning fun.
You can see behind-the-scenes photos on Monaghan’s Instagram, @wildthingsdom, and follow him on twitter, @domswildthings. Tune into BBC America, tonight, at 10/9c to catch the second season premiere of Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.
As Monaghan says, “Be Curious.”
Images: BBC America