Watercooler Interview: Dominic Monaghan on Moonhaven, Lightsabers vs. Rings of Power, and What He’s Watching

Pop quiz: What do Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Lost, and X-Men all have in common? Dominic Monaghan! He’s been a part of many of the most popular genre franchises to date, and he’s looking to add his newest project, Moonhaven, to that list.

In the series, Monaghan plays Paul, a detective and citizen of a socity of former Earthlings thriving on the moon a hundred years from now. The unconventional methods and culture of Moonhaven are put to the test when mysterious murders start to occur within the community. The first two episodes of Moonhaven are currently available on AMC+, with additional episodes premiering on Thursdays through Aug. 4.

In our recent interview, Monaghan talks about his role in the series, as well as his friendship with former Lord of the Rings castmate Billy Boyd. The two of them have turned their fellowship as hobbits into a bromance that birthed a podcast called “The Friendship Onion,” (available on Apple Podcasts) in which they invite guests to discuss everything from films to video games. They are such great buds, Monaghan would even call on Boyd as his partner in a dance-off.

What can you tell us about the inhabitants of the moon in the series Moonhaven?

Monaghan: The Mooners have been living on the moon for a few generations and they’ve figured out the way they want to live their lives. It’s very peaceful and there doesn’t seem to be too many serious crimes committed within the community. They tend to help each other and be quite immersive and collaborative. It’s a place with naive beauty.

How would you describe your character, Paul?

Monaghan: Paul is a detective on the moon, but that means something different on the moon than it would to people on Earth. He doesn’t tend to solve too many serious crimes. The character tends to just be kind of a leader in the community. He’s a family man with three children. He’s going through some kind of marital issues, but I think he feels like he’s gonna figure that out. Paul seems to be handling it very well, until some very serious crimes occur that have never occurred on the moon before and he is forced to investigate them.

There is a lot of movement and dancing involved in the Mooner culture. You even have a dance scene with Kadeem Hardison. Who would you choose as your partner in a dance off and what would be your go-to dance?

Monaghan: Well, Billy Boyd (who was in Lord of the Rings with me) and I, we’re pretty good at reading each other’s minds and thoughts. We recently were at a convention where we were forced to dance to the very annoying “Cotton Eye Joe.” Billy and I seemed to pick up the dance moves very quickly. Billy’s wife is an ex-dancer, so he’s quite well versed in that. If I had to pick a dance partner, I’d probably pick Billy Boyd, and maybe we’d do something like the Chicken dance, the Conga, or the Hokey Pokey.

What technology or methods would you bring from this futuristic series to the present times?

Monaghan: It’d be pretty fantastic to have this machine called the Chancellor, which Paul’s and Arlo’s characters have. It’s basically a kind of all bells-and-whistles device that you just point at anything and it will give you all the information back that you need to know. So if you point to a person, it will tell you everything you need to know about that person; or if you point at a tree, it’ll tell you everything you need to know about that tree. I know that phones try their best to do that, but we’re not quite there yet. I think the Chancellor would be a very cool thing.

Are there any shows that you have binge-watched recently or consider binge-worthy right now?

Monaghan: I just finished watching Severance, which I thought was excellent. I’m watching The Old Man (starring Jeff Bridges) which is really fantastic and I’ve been watching a lot of, like, old Gordon Ramsey kind of cooking shows.

If you had to choose between a lightsaber or the ring from Lord of the Rings, which would it be?

Monaghan: They both have great things about them. I would argue that maybe the ring is a little bit more versatile because the lightsaber is essentially just a very hot sword and that’s about it, whereas the ring can do a lot of different things. Even though it comes at a cost, I think it’s more powerful.

What kind of role would you want to play that you haven’t yet?

Monaghan: I would like to continue to explore playing really bad people. I’ve played a few bad people, murderers and things like that, but it would be fun to play an out-and-out bad person, someone scary and intimidating. I’m not sure if it’s been written yet, but I like playing a varied amount of characters. So, anything different from what I’ve played before.

Finally, what do you think people will get out of this show?

Monaghan: I think there’s a lot of heart to this show. Today we are watching a lot of TV based on being influenced by the COVID experience that we all went through. It’s quite cynical and quite dark in its outlook of the human race. I think this show kind of puts the argument forward that human beings are ultimately good and they’ll work stuff out. I don’t think there are that many shows out there that are putting forward those types of arguments. So I think if you want to watch something that has a positive outlook on the human race, maybe Moonhaven is for you.

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