Dominic Monaghan owes much of his current fame and fortune to J.J. Abrams's TV show "Lost" and the three-part epic films in the "Lord of the Rings" series. But it turns out that those projects helped not only his acting career, but also his very strange hobby.
"In New Zealand [where 'LOTR' was filmed] I was interested in taking as much photography as I could of roadkill ... I'm interested to see how the animal met its demise but also I'm interested to see whereabouts in the decomposition stage it was at, you know," the 36-year-old actor, nature enthusiast, and PETA member recently told The Canadian Press.
He also said that the cast and crew of both "LOTR" and "Lost" knew that Monaghan would be greatly interested in checking out any living organism they discovered in between shots. And while some celebrities would insist on first-world luxuries when working in exotic locations, Monaghan often did his own independent expeditions into the surrounding wilderness during his time off.
It may be odd to some, but this unique interest has lead to a new project for the Germany-born actor: a new TV series called "Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan" on the Outdoor Life Network.
"The show follows me looking for a target animal each week," Monaghan said about the "Crocodile Hunter"-like show that brings him across the four corners of the world in search of rare creepy-crawlies. "It isn't really a weird switch for me because I keep insects and I'm a fan of insects and I'm a fan of animals in general, and I think that they are misunderstood."
Fortunately for viewers, his interests aren't limited to animals who are already deceased. Monaghan himself owns a praying mantis, two spiders, a snake, and a chameleon. "You can have a relationship with any animal; it's not all about dogs and cats," he said.
"Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan" is co-produced by Toronto's Cream Productions and London's Wildfire Television, but Monaghan also hinted that there could be another upcoming connection between his OLN series and our home and native land.
"You could tell the story of bears or the story of salmon. So I'd like to do some stuff in Canada," he said. "It's an amazing country, Canada, and it has fantastic outdoors so we're certainly exploring stories to tell in Canada."
It's true, he'd have to dress a bit more warmly in Canada's great outdoors than in Hawaii or New Zealand, but luckily we already know that Monaghan is a fan of Canada. Or, more specifically, Canadian women's fashion sense.
"Everyone on the streets of Toronto are so nice polite and friendly and the girrrrls are well dressed and pretty," he tweeted during a trip to T.O. in May 2012.
"Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan" premieres Monday night on OLN, and Monaghan can also be seen in the upcoming horror TV series "The Unknown." As for the big-screen, he's set for roles in films like thriller "DeepBurial" with Tom Sizemore, the kids' movie "Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist" with Emily Watson, and the drama "Monster Butler" with Gary Oldman and Malcolm McDowell.