Sean Astin: My Daughters Are Healthy and Beautiful

10/21/2010 at 02:00 PM ET

Life has changed a lot for Sean Astin since the Lord of the Rings craze quieted a bit in 2004.

But now, the trilogy is coming back to life for the actor in the form of a new video game, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest.

“It’s weird, it’s like a dual feeling,” he tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies. “On one hand, it feels like it was a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then — I’ve had two more kids and worked on so many different movies. But it’s also like no time has passed at all.”

The family-friendly video game ($30 – $60), available on Nintendo Wii and DS, and Playstation, PSP and PS3, focuses on major movie moments and features Astin’s LOTR character, Samwise Gamgee.

“I got really excited because there was an emphasis on my character, and it’s always nice to be the center of attention,” he jokes.

So what do daughters Alexandra, 13, Elizabeth, 8, and Isabella, 5, think of seeing dad in video game form? “They were entranced … it’s a mini-version of the movie,” he shares.

However, the actual Lord of the Rings trilogy hasn’t gone over quite as well with the girls. “They’ve seen parts of the movie. They know it’s fiction, but the music is so powerful, and the ideas are so powerful, that they have to take it in small bits.”

And they don’t let their movie-watching and game-playing get in the way of their homework, either. “My wife Christine is good about balancing their schedules. She sets her internal clock to their homework and activities,” he says. “She’s just so great about staying centered and focused on her number one priority: that the kids are taken care of, and always prepared for school.”

Luckily, Astin says his daughters take naturally to their coursework anyway. “Ally just started a new school, and she seems to be acclimating well,” he says. “Every time you tell anyone you have a 13-year-old daughter, their eyes open wide and they shrug their shoulders sympathetically. It’s a dynamic age, but she’s navigating it well.”

Courtesy Warner Bros.

Little sis Elizabeth “has decided that school is something she’s going to attack,” he laughs. “She’s responding really well to the demands her teachers are placing on her. She’s in third grade, and it’s hard!”

And the family’s youngest, Bella, is already off to school, too. “She’s in kindergarten, and it’s been a seamless transition for her. She has lots of friends, and fits in with the whole shape of the day,” he says. “All three girls have things they’re into, not to mention they’re healthy, and they’re beautiful.”

Though Astin and Christine savor the quiet time, he jokes that it does fly by pretty fast. The couple is currently working on making a movie, based on the best-selling children’s book Number the Stars, which Astin calls “an odyssey.”

And he also has some independent films in the queue, including next year’s mockumentary And They’re Off with costars Kevin Nealon and Cheri Oteri.

“There’s no balance right now, it’s just a free-for-all, and I’m trying to survive,” he jokes of his hectic life. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Kate Hogan

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Showing 27 comments

Meesh on

One thing that has always bothered me is that Elizabeth and Isabella are versions of the same name.

Corrie on

Meesh, in all politeness, what in the world are you talking about?

I love Sean Astin. He always strikes me as much a nice, normal, down-to-earth guy, and you don’t see a lot of celebrities like that.

Pamela on

Corrie-Isabella is the Spanish variant of Elizabeth. Like ‘Sean’ is the Irish version of John…so he technically has two daughters with the same name, only in different languages. And Sean John/aka PDiddy’s name is actually John John.

Diane on

He was great in LOTR. I like the descriptions of his girls. Seems like a nice family.

I understand what Meesh is talking about. Without realizing it, we named 2 of my boys a version of the name John, but no one calls them John so I don’t fuss about it. When we found out we thought it was kind of funny.

Elena on

Corrie, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to keep quiet. Meesh is right – Elizabeth is the English version of Isabelle, which is Spanish. It’s like naming your kids Elena and Helene, or Steven and Stephan – just shows the parents’ ignorance about the name’s origins.

Tess on

Meesh is correct. Isabella is a variant of Elizabeth.

Jess from Ohio on

Isabella and Elizabeth may be the “same name” but also they may just be names they liked. Not all parents look at names origins before they pick them. I know I wouldn’t. I would just pick names that sound good to me and not care about their “origins”.

kjc on

Sheesh Elena! Who cares that they are versions of the same name?!?… Corrie was being polite when she questioned Meesh. No need to jump down her throat.

Sean and his wife might have been well aware what they were doing when they named the girls, and if not – who cares. In english they are different.

Goonies forever!

Alice on

Who cares that they are “versions of the same name”, they are NOT the same name! If your name is Elizabeth and you go to spain people are not going to call you Isabelle or Isabella!

marina on

I’m from a spanish-speaking country and here both are different names… and even if one time they are the same I don’t see what is the big deal about naming your kids like that!

Mary on

So what if they’re two different variations of the same name? It isn’t as though they named their daughters “Isabel” and “Isabella.” Elizabeth and Isabella sound nothing alike and while derived from the same name are NOT the same name.

E on

Elena – there really is no need to be so vicious, or call anyone ignorant.
Lovely names anyway!

Annie on

At least they are real names unlike most celebrities who seem convinced it’s a contest to be the most unique and end up being absurd. These are legitimate beautiful names and probably the girls go by Liz and Izzy or some other nicknames anyways.

Jennifer on

Good Gracious.

Penny on

My gosh, I saw a pic of Sean a few years ago, thought he had gained some weight and now seeing this pic of him, he is even bigger! He is one big boy! Wow, he sure has gained alot of weight! Doesn’t anyone else think so either??

llewopharas on

Elizabeth and Isabella would be fantastic names for twins — Lizzie & Izzy! Or a designer girls’ clothing line. Or a mystery novel series with two pre-teen detectives.

Sheesh, I need to get a tighter grip on my imagination!

CelebBabyLover on

Annie- I don’t know about Elizabeth, but it says in the post that Isabella goes by Bella: “And the family’s youngest, Bella, is already off to school, too.”. 🙂

alguien on

The Spanish version of Elizabeth is Isabel not Isabella, Isabella is the Italian one.
So Elizabeth and Isabella are the same name; as John, Sean, Ian, Ewan, Jack, Shawn, etc… are the very same name as well.

zappo on

I know they are different versions of the same name, and yet I love both names. I just like the way each sounds. I can’t have children, but my beloved baby girl dog is Isabella, and if I adopted another baby girl dog she would be Elizabeth Rose. I don’t have a problem with it. Sean is great; LOVE LOVE LOVE LOTR! Maybe my favoritr trilogy ever!

Jenna on

My friend had two girls and named them Libby and Beth, both also from the name Elizabeth!

Whitney on

Both Sean and his wife were my dad’s students in College – they even invited him to the wedding and my sister was almost their nanny by coincidence a few years ago…. Nice, normal, family (odd since all his family is/was famous)

MiB on

This reminds me of twins I had in kindergarten once, Ian and Sean, their fathers name was Ioan, and their grandfathers was Jack and so on, turns out that every first born son in the family had been named a variant of John for centuries, and since they didn’t want to mark one of the twins as firstborn, they named them both “John”. The mother was quite happy though that it was a name with many variants.

Sam on

Well! The girls are cuties and growing up fast. Wasn’t Sean on The Facts Of Life many moons ago? I think he looks a lot like his mom. And yes, they do look like a happy normal not-so-Hollywood family – good for them!

Tess on

Sam – Mackenzie was the one on The Facts of Life.

Annie on

You people amuse the crap out of me arguing over Elizabeth and Isabella being the same name.

Julie on

Sam, you’re close, in the same family. It was Sean’s brother Mackenzie Astin that was in the Facts of Life.

LisaS on

I love his daughters’ names! Well, except for Elizabeth (only because my own name comes from it, but I like it well enough and don’t think it sounds anything like Isabella). But Alexandra and Isabella are two names that I’ve always thought were so beautiful, elegant, and feminine. Along with Victoria, those are the names I’ve been mulling over for any future daughters I might have.

And Sean is so right. It seems like so much time has passed since Lord of the Rings, but at the same time, it feels like no time has passed at all. I can’t believe his baby girl at the time of the first movie is now almost as tall as her daddy. And his daughters are beautiful indeed.