"The Hobbit" has been a long journey for actor Richard Armitage, with three films in three years, and now he's ready for people to see the finale of the franchise.

"What's very exciting now is to see the reactions of the fans as they discover the film that had been under our belts for so long and to see the final cut in all its glory," Armitage says of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

amNewYork spoke with Armitage, who plays the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the three "Hobbit" films, the third of which opens Wednesday.

 

What have you taken from playing Thorin through these three films?

I think it's a rare experience to play a single character over three movies and let a story unfold in this way. It's been a rare and unique experience and it's thrilling. ? To see the final realization of that is fantastic.

 

How was your camaraderie with your fellow dwarves?

It was great. I think it was intrinsic to the telling of the tale because we came from different sides of the globe, like Tolkien's dwarfs who were pulled from different parts of Middle Earth to go on a quest together. It felt like a real band of brothers.

 

The actors in the Fellowship of the Ring got tattoos to commemorate those films. Did you and your dwarf brethren do anything?

Yeah, in true dwarf fashion, we felt that gold was probably an appropriate thing, and so we had some rings made with some dwarfish runes around it and our character name written on the inside. All of the dwarfs had a ring, so that's something that we shared.

 

What are you looking for in your next role? Do you want to keep going with these monster-sized films?

The size of the role and the platform the film has isn't really the primary concern. Finding a role that's as interesting as Thorin is. ... I've been working on some small independent films where I get to play in my own skin and at my own height, but finding something as complex as Thorin is at the top of the agenda.

 

You're pretty tall. How was it playing a dwarf?

It was quite easy for me. It's a technical thing that was in the hands of the filmmaker. We were increased in size so that we didn't look like children on film ... so we were really playing as giants.

 

How was it working with director Peter Jackson?

I was a fan of "Lord of the Rings" and I'd seen some of the DVD extras, so I knew what kind of director he was. You have to really open yourself up to it and become part of a family and get on his train, as it were. He makes that very easy for you. He brings you into that family and he makes you very much part of his world and he gets to know you as a person as well as an actor.

 

Is this your first time being an action figure?

Yeah, in such a complete way with Thorin, there's a lot of merchandise about him. I think you can get Thorin socks and Thorin hamburgers, probably.