Lord of the Rings Gimli ‘star’ breaks silence and ‘apologises’ to cast members

John Rhys-Davis’ stunt double stood in for the majority of his scenes – but received no acting credit

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Friday 18 June 2021 11:34
The battle of Helm's Deep begins in Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers
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A Lord of the Rings star who didn’t receive an acting credit has broken his silence about his time in the franchise.

In Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy, John Rhys-Davis is credited as playing Gimli. However, it’s known that Rhys-Davis’ four foot, one inch stunt double Brett Beattie – originally hired to do horse stunts – eventually became the actor’s size double, and was asked to step in for many of the character’s scenes.

Beattie ultimately played Gimli a lot more than originally planned due to the fact that the prosthetics used by the makeup team gave Rhys-Davis a skin allergy.

In fact, Beattie was viewed as such a core member of the cast that he was invited to get matching tattoos with Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen and company. Rhys-Davis, however, does not have one, once stating: “Whenever there’s anything dangerous or [something] that involves blood, I sent my stunt double to do it.”

Beattie has now emphasised how much he actually played Gimli, in what is his first interview discussing his participation in the franchise.

He told Polygon: “I am aware that a lot of the people, even hardcore Lord of the Rings fans, assume that a lot of the shots are some tricky sort of camera angle or some CGI shrinking John Rhys-Davies down. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubbles, but I can only think of a couple of shots where CGI was used to shrink Rhys-Davies down.”

According to Beattie, he spent 2,300 hours (189 days) playing Gimli and recently underwent his third knee reconstruction surgery due to injuries he suffered while filming the battle sequences.

Beattie also said he felt a need to “apologise” to his fellow cast members who attempted to include him in post-filming festivities. He says that, while he agreed to the tattoo, he declined an invitation to Jackson’s house as he felt awkward about the situation with Rhys-Davis.

Gimli in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise

“I almost feel like I owe the cast some sort of an apology for not digging deeper and making that effort,” Beattie said. “I spent a lot of time on set with the cast as a professional working... and that was an opportunity to get to meet them and to get them to meet me without a mask glued to my face.”

Beattie is credited as “Gimli’s stunt double”.

Read the full interview here.

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