TELLING TALES: John Rhys-Davies performs for the Palmerston North library crowd.
Graeme Brown/Evening Standard
As previously reported, Lord of the Rings star John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) was in Palmerston North on Thursday to kick off the trilogy’s mass reading in the public library. This follow-up article features movie comments from our favorite dwarf.
Tolkien reading makes magic
The crowd gathered early and fervently. Some clutched well-thumbed Lord of the Rings books, others just came armed with an air of expectancy.
That excitement at getting a little closer to the magic that is being weaved in New Zealand with the filming of the great trilogy was rewarded by the efforts of Centrepoint Theatre and the library to create a “cave”, a hobbit hole, in the sound and visual section.
More than 100 people packed into the area and others watched a broadcast on monitors.
Rhys-Davies’ size alone showed the complexity of Peter Jackson’s project. Davies is a big man, well over six foot. And yet he plays the dwarf Gimli, thanks to the magic of computer manipulation.
He spoke to a city audience of all ages, ranging from schoolchildren, to tertiary students, to pensioners.
It was all positive about the movie – Crocodile Dundee was supposed to have attracted two million extra tourists to Australia, and the Lord of the Rings films would do much more than that for New Zealand.
He also had “no scandal” to report.
Reports the film is running over budget, of disputes between actors, and that director Jackson was close to a nervous breakdown were wrong.
“We are on time and the budget is commensurate with the making of something that will be bigger than Star Wars,” he said.
This prediction has been pooh-poohed a bit as far-fetched, but he stood by it.
He said when the films were launched, the reaction would make his prediction “look rather obvious”.
But he included the city crowd as among those who understood this. They were the Tolkien faithful, and they better than anyone realised the import of bringing those books to life on the screen.
Before he read, he praised reading and the power of words.
“Please be a writer, not an actor. It all comes back to the words,” he told children in the audience, who might have been wannabe actors.
“Actors hunger for good words, and that’s why, I suppose, I’ve come to this reading.
“Really try to imagine these words. Don’t watch too much TV or films if you can.”
And then he began.