John Rhys-Davies on Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones and living in the Isle of Man

After spending a couple of hours with John Rhys-Davies, you get a real sense of his political passions, coupled with his love of working as an actor.

The 78-year-old was born in Salisbury, but was raised in Tanganyika before his family moved to the Welsh town of Ammanford.

He has lived on the Isle of Man for more than 30 years, but also spends some time at another home in New Zealand.

His work as a Hollywood actor saw him play the dwarf Gimili in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Harrison Ford's faithful companion Sallah, in two of the four Indiana Jones films.

As a huge fan of his work, speaking with John was joyful, insightful and often incredibly descriptive.

Below is a collection of some of the discussions we had at his home in Kirk Michael.

  • What did you enjoy about playing the character of Gimli?

Gimli is one of the nine members that make up the Fellowship of the Ring and is the only dwarf in the group. The role saw John appear in all three films in the trilogy and he became a favourite with fans around the world.

  • Is John still in touch with co-star Orlando Bloom?

Some of the most popular interactions in the film came from both John and Orlando's characters. The relationship between Legolas and Gimli develops over the course of the trilogy, but is John still in touch with Orlando?

  • How have fan conventions changed John as a person?

While John is still a working actor, he spends a lot of his time travelling the world meeting fans at various conventions. Speaking of his travels, he said: "Fan conventions have done more to change me than any other single thing".

  • What was it like working with Harrison Ford?

John worked with Harrison Ford in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade where he played Jones' faithful companion Sallah.

  • Could John be making an appearance in Indiana Jones 5?

The fifth instalment of Indiana Jones is due to be released on 30 June 2023, with many speculating the return of John's character Sallah. Although it has never been confirmed, many are hoping to see Harrison Ford's co-star make a return to the big screen.

  • What does he think about the upcoming Amazon TV show 'Rings of Power'?

Rings of Power is a new TV show made by Amazon and is a prequel to Lord of the Rings. John confirmed he had been asked if he wanted to be involved, but decided against it due to other projects he is working on.

John Rhys-Davies and the Isle of Man

John has lived on the Isle of Man since 1988, based in the small village of Kirk Michael.

He takes great interest in politics around the world, but holds a particular interest in the political discussions taking place on the Isle of Man.

Having worked in over 120 countries, his travels and insight into the wider world are unmatched by most, if not all, living on the Isle of Man.

  • Could the the Isle of Man be doing more to utilise the film and TV industry?

John is calling on the Isle of Man Government to consider how the island can be used to attract the film and TV industry.

He said: "If we wish to we could double or triple tourism to the island with one decent film".

He spoke of New Zealand's economy and the increase in tourism following The Lord of the Rings, alongside the more recent boost in Northern Ireland's economy after the release of Game of Thrones.

One of his current projects sees him building a small film studio in the north west of the island to attract those in the industry to film on the Isle of Man.

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