Dominic Monaghan has played a hobbit in “The Lord of the Rings,” a castaway in “Lost” and, in his latest series, “Moonhaven,” a detective solving a crime on the moon.
“I like futuristic stories [and] I like murder and detective stories. The most refreshing thing about this show is that it’s exploring the idea that the future could be better,” Monaghan, 45, told The Post.
“Moonhaven,” streaming on AMC+, is set in a version of the future in which Earth is dying and there’s a utopian community on the moon. Paul (Monaghan) is a detective, but his job is very different from what it looks like on Earth. Since an AI system enables him and his partner Arlo (Kadeem Hardison) to determine the cause and culprit of a crime, their jobs are more akin to new-agey therapists as they console people about how to respond to a crime.
Their idyllic existence gets shaken up when Paul and Arlo are tasked with solving their first murder, right before the community’s phased migration back to Earth. To complicate matters, this overlaps with the arrival of a trio from the home planet: Bella Sway (Emma McDonald), a cargo pilot and smuggler; Earth diplomat Indira Mare (Amara Karan); and her bodyguard Tomm (Joe Manganiello), all of whom bring attitudes that are more skeptical and cynical than the “lunar” people are used to.
“The character I play is relatively naive — he’s quite an innocent man, idealistic. So, I just stayed in a kind of childlike headspace, thinking that humans were going to not lie and were going to be good and do the right thing,” Monaghan said. “Those are the elements of Paul that makes him unique when you compare him to the Earthers.”
“Moonhaven” is the latest in Monaghan’s career of sci-fi and fantasy fare; he’s also been in “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” and “X Men Origins: Wolverine,” and he’s currently also starring in the Audible podcast series “Moriarty: The Devil’s Game,” in which he plays the Sherlock Holmes villain.
“There’s nothing necessarily that I won’t do, it’s just all about characters, that’s what drives me,” he said. “I’m always looking to do something new.”
Most genre projects come with enthusiastic fan bases, and Monaghan said he’s used to that by now.
“There was a point where ‘Lord of the Rings’ was the biggest film of any given year that it was out. So, for three years in a row, I was lucky enough to be in the biggest film in the world, and then in 2004 when ‘Lost’ came out, I was lucky enough to be in the biggest film of the year, and the biggest TV show on the planet,” he said. “At that point, things get hectic. It’s difficult then to be going to supermarkets and out and about. I still did it, but it definitely got crazy.”
Meanwhile, “The Lord of the Rings” franchise is returning to the spotlight soon, with the Sept. 2 premiere of the Prime Video series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”
“I think it’s great. It’s fun to see new life being breathed into that incredible series of books written by Professor Tolkien,” Monaghan said. “I’m interested to see what people do. Obviously, Amazon is not shy of money, and they’ve put a lot of money into this particular project. Fingers crossed it ends up being something that finds a new audience.”
He doesn’t think it will change the level of interest in the films, however.
“I think those movies are kind of timeless … multiple times a day people will tell me they just finished watching those films, and how much it moved them, or how important it was to their family. So, I don’t know if the interest has ever truly waned. But maybe it will pick up with the Amazon project.
“I’ve been doing a few conventions with [‘Rings’ co-stars] Elijah [Wood] and Sean [Astin] and Billy [Boyd] recently, and when the four of us go out for dinner … you find people losing their marbles, which is fun. I would be the same. If I saw Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, C-3PO and Chewbacca having dinner, I would be geeking out, too.”
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