Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Interview

RELATED INTERVIEWS
Hobbit Exclusive: Three Directors Talk Peter Jackson
Edgar Wright, Neill Blomkamp and Bryan Singer on PJ
The Hobbit Interviews: James Nesbitt On Bofur
'He's gone along for the craic...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Stephen Hunter On Bombur
'He just hits whatever gets in the road...'
The Hobbit Interviews: John Callen Talks Oin
'He's one of the older ones – the hearing's not what it was'
The Hobbit Interviews: William Kircher On Bifur
'He's a bit of a maniac...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Aidan Turner On Kili
‘Kili and Fili are like Prince William and Harry...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Mark Hadlow On Dori
‘Dori’s not sure about Thorin... or Gandalf, for that matter.’
The Hobbit Interviews: Jed Brophy On Nori
‘If Nori were English, he’d be a cockney...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Adam Brown On Ori
‘He’s baby of the group...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Dean O'Gorman On Fili
'I like to think of him as very cool...'
The Hobbit Interview: Peter Hambleton On Gloin
'Gloin is a very prickly character...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Ken Stott On Balin
'He’s a dwarf who’s seen too much...'
The Hobbit Interviews: Graham McTavish On Dwalin
'I’m the scary biker of the group'
The Hobbit Interviews: Richard Armitage On Thorin
'I tried to find his humour, but he's a king on a mission'
Empire's Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Video Interviews
Jackson! McKellen! Freeman! Turner! Armitage! Nesbitt!
Empire's Hobbit Tolkien Trivia Video Interview
The second of three Hobbit interview mini-supercuts...
Empire's Hobbit 'What's In Your Pocket?' Video Interview
The first of three Hobbit interview mini-supercuts...
Empire's Hobbit 'How Quickly Can You Name The Dwarves?' Video Interview
The third of three Hobbit interview mini-supercuts...
The Hobbit's Baddie Talks!
Manu Bennett on playing Azog The Defiler
More Interviews

RELATED REVIEWS
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Gimli's Guide To Dwarving Made Easy
John Rhys-Davies's tips for The Hobbit's dwarves

submit to reddit

Today is the first day of filming on The Hobbit, an occasion that signifies the departure of Bilbo Baggins and companions on their mighty quest for the Lonely Mountain. Over the months ahead Bilbo Baggins' small but stout band of dwarfish fellows will be beset by vicious wargs, bug-eyed trolls, giant spiders and infuriating beard itch. To mark this momentous occasion, we've designated this 'Hobbit Week', a place where travel tips, story pointers and the nostril sting of pipe-weed abound. Who better to get things started than the original mini-warrior John Rhys-Davies, the thesp who played Gimli in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. We called him up and asked for some advice for his successors in the axe-wielding business...

Gimli's Guide To Dwarving Made Easy

1. Prepare For Pain
"You've got to have a lot of patience to play a dwarf. I spent over four hours in the make-up chair each morning, then had 20 minute touch-ups between shots. It's absolutely energy-sapping. And with The Hobbit there'll be a whole band of poor actors in the clobber. It's a pretty thankless and unrewarding task. I know the devils of temptation and I avoid them very carefully. The trick is not to drink."

2. Keep It Classical
"When you're sitting in the make-up chair, your only input is auditory. And if you have to listen to four hours of contemporary music, you go insane. I used to snarl, "Get that fucking crap off!" The only thing I could take was classical music - Bach, Vivaldi, the great Venetians. In time the other actors bowed to my wishes. It probably upset everyone else in the make-up room but I had my eyes shut, so I didn't notice."

3. Hit The Gym
"Usually Gimli's costume weighed between 60 to 80 pounds. My favourite anecdote is about this one day where we were shooting halfway up a mountain. There was a girl carrying my helmet, somebody else carrying my heavy boots, another person with the helmet and two men behind us struggling with a hamper containing the top armour, chain mail, belts and all that. And then the armourer with the five axes I'd be carrying. They put it all on me and Peter said, "Right, I want you to run up that slope." I could barely move!"

Gimli's Guide To Dwarving Made Easy

4. Axin' Ain't Easy
"I did a lot of weapon training and it was almost entirely useless! The great truth is, the first time I swung an axe on the set, I toppled over, straight into the mud. Because I had to be on my knees so that I'd look shorter than Viggo - which I'm not - and you can't fight on your knees. The full-size axe was also enormous, with a giant arc. So it was often better to have my double do the fighting. I did enjoy the odd scrap, though. The stuntmen used to complain, "Oh God, it's John again." I'd bellow, "Come on you, wusses! Stand up and take your punishment!"

5. Deny All Tossings
"Nobody, but nobody, tosses a dwarf! This is not something I am meant to talk about. It doesn't happen. It never happened. And anyone who says it did is a liar and will have to answer to my axe!"

The Hobbit is in production. Part 1 is due out in 2012.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Film Studies 101: Ten Movie Formats That Shook The World
The pre-digital innovations that formed modern cinema

Exodus: Gods And Kings: Ridley Scott's Trailer Breakdown
The director talks us through his enormous Biblical epic

Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of 'Useless reptile'

Spotify Playlist: Now That's What I Call... Richard Linklater!
The Boyhood director has a soundtrack for life

Empire At EIFF 2014: Elijah Wood Q&A
See highlights of our Edinburgh chat with the actor

The Empire Podcast #118: Keira Knightley And Dean DeBlois Interviews
The Begin Again star and How To Train Your Dragon 2 director pop in for a chat

Watch: Industrial Light & Magic's Greatest Hits
From Star Wars to Transformers, we run through some of the best individual moments from the special effects masters

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £18!
Special 25th anniversary offer for one month only! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)