Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin makes Kickstarter plea for $30,000 to fund political talk show

The actor, who played loyal hobbit Samwise Gamgee in the Peter Jackson film trilogy, now hosts online talk show Vox Populi

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The Independent Culture

Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin is attempting to raise $30,000 (£18,500) on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to secure the future of his online political talk show.

The 42-year-old, who played Frodo's companion Samwise Gamgee in the popular fantasy films, hosts a show called Vox Populi for two hours every Thursday.

A passionate Democrat, Astin campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election and supported Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic candidacy in 2008.

Political talk shows in the US aren’t renowned for being quiet affairs, but Astin's aim is to keep discussion civil. He claims Vox Populi, which has broadcast more than 30 episodes, has a regular audience of between 12,000 and 15,000 people.

As of this morning, his Kickstarter fund stood at more than $7,000 (£4,300). He has 28 days to reach the $30,000 goal.

The online bid claims that, "with virtually no actual dollars invested," he has managed to book "high calibre influencers such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Medved".

After raising one fifth of the funds within 24 hours of posting the project on Kickstarter, Astin posted a YouTube video explaining where the money will go.

"We've done about 35 episodes of the show and they've been really, really rewarding," he said.

"One thing that it hasn't been is as robust a physical production as it can possibly be, because we're a staff of me. Well, me and my brother Mack who occasionally guest hosts and a smattering of volunteers who help do a little bit of research, and of course Johnny Ice who's our engineer.

"But basically when it gets right down to it, I'm coming up with the topics, I'm doing the research, I'm finding the clips, I'm looking at the articles, I'm trying to figure out what guests I can get, I'm booking them, I'm chasing their schedules, I'm trying to pre-record the interviews.

"I'm sort of a one-man band, which is fantastic because it's kind of a grassroots thing that I'm trying to do here, But I think we've demonstrated, by bringing in some high calibre, nationally recognised guests on a consistent basis, that the show is worthy of greater support and infrastructure."

To ease the pressure on himself, Astin wants to bring in "two or three part time staffers", whose jobs would include producing, booking and using social media.