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Devastating news today for Lord of the Rings fans. John Rhys-Davies will not be in The Hobbit.
Of course his character from Lord of the Rings, Gimli, doesn’t appear since this movie is set before he was born. But most had hoped, even assumed, that he’d be brought in to play Gimli’s father who does figure prominently into The Hobbit story. Unfortunately, Rhy-Davies just isn’t interested. He says, “I've already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn't. I have already completely ruled it out. There's a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment any more.”
If you’ve watched any of the behind the scenes material from Lord of the Rings you know what a struggle it was for John just to make it through filming on the first trilogy. His makeup was brutal and caused an allergic reaction. He had trouble breathing inside his costume and let’s face it, he’s not getting younger. Just doing Lord of the Rings was a struggle for him, a struggle which he embraced and an experience which he loved, but now that he’s even older and presumably even more fragile it’s easy to understand why he might be unable to take the punishment of putting back on his dwarf costume.
It does sound like he might be open to playing some other character in the Lord of the Rings universe though, perhaps a less physically demanding role? Rhys-Davies says, “I'd be interested in trying to create a different type of persona within... the thing. That is challenging as an actor. I'd really prefer to play something quite different. Maybe an Elf. They've got a different set of problems with The Hobbit because you've got 13 dwarves, a whole band of them... You're trying to represent a whole race... You're trying to do for dwarves what The Lord of the Rings did for hobbits.”