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Dominic Monaghan on unleashing his dark side

Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are really creepy in Pet.

Thank you, that was the plan!

How did you prepare?

Without wanting to sound too creepy, I am interested in serial killers. In my teens I started reading about Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer and people. So I re-read a few books and I isolated myself — I made sure I wasn’t really seeing friends. Then, once we started filming, I said to Ksenia Solo, who plays Holly, the girl my character Seth is obsessed with, that if she wanted to hang out I would do. I only surrounded myself with her and that created that obsessive thing Seth has going on.

What projects do people stop you for the most?

Probably The Lord Of The Rings. Lost comes and goes. It depends where I am. In places like South America and Spain, Lost was a smash hit on TV. Afterwards I did this nature show, Wild Things. In places like Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany the show seemed to be a big thing.

Did you know where the Lost story was heading at the time?

No, no one knew where it was going. I don’t think the writers did. If you asked them season to season, ‘Do you know what’s happening at the end of the season?’ they’d say no.

What are you up to now?

Billy Boyd, who was in The Lord Of The Rings, and I are selling a show about travel, history and the economics of food. We’re fascinated by the planet and we both like to travel so much. We were inspired by The Trip. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are big heroes of ours. I did a show called A Midsummer’s Nightmare. And I’m doing a massive garden project. I’m making the driveway to my front door into a sort of jungle.

Where do you live?

Los Angeles. If you’re looking at the Hollywood sign, it’s about a mile to the right. So it’s very hot in summer but currently gets a lot of rain. It’s a good place to be gardening at the moment.

What were you obsessed with as a kid?

I’m a slightly obsessive person. When I was a kid it was animals and Star Wars and film. When we first got a video player, I was very excited about it and my dad would bring back a video on Friday night. On Saturday morning I’d watch it three times in a row and I’d be badgering my dad to let me watch it again.

That is obsessive…

Yes. Then I got into football. I’m a big Manchester United fan. I was away on Saturday and Sunday and I said to my girlfriend driving back, ‘Sorry, there’s going to be about five or six hours of football on when we get back.’ She’s cool about it.

When did you last see your Lord Of The Rings cast mates?

I saw a lot of the guys recently because Viggo Mortensen’s cast mates from Captain Fantastic were big fans of The Lord Of The Rings. He said, ‘Look, I’m going to Los Angeles for the SAG awards with the cast, are you around?’ We met up at this Irish pub: myself, Billy, Elijah [Wood] and Orlando [Bloom] showed up to surprise them.

That’s cute. Don’t you all have matching tattoos?

We do: the nine of us in the Fellowship. Jonathan Rhys Davies is the only guy who didn’t do it but the guy who played his stunt double, he came and did it for Jon, which was a lovely touch. We all got the number nine [written in Elvish].

Do you have any pets yourself?

I’ve got a bunch! I’ve got about 60,000 honey bees, a python, three rattlesnakes, a tarantula and two geckos.

Where do they live?

In my living room in separate cages, apart from the tarantula, who lives in my dining room. And the honey bees live up at the top of my hill in my garden.

Is your girlfriend on board with all this?

She’s OK with most of them, though she’s a bit skittish about the rattlesnakes. I had a friend’s son come round yesterday to meet my animals and I got my rattlesnake out. There was a mouse in the house we were keeping to feed the rattlesnake, so it moved a bit faster than normal, and my girlfriend kind of lost her s*** a little bit. I always tell her, ‘Look, if an animal’s moving you stay still. I don’t need to worry about you. If you’re moving and the snake’s moving, I need to worry about both of you.’ It’s all right, we worked it out.

Pet is out today on digital download and on Blu-ray & DVD on March 13