Most who are familiar with 'Lord of the Rings' lore will know that the actors of the fellowship all got matching tattoos as a mark of the bond they formed on the movies. That is except for John Rhys-Davies, who plays Gimli in the movie, and whose stunt- and size-double, Brett Beattie, got the tattoo instead. What 'LOTR' fans may be less familiar with is just how far Beattie's contribution to the movies went.
The character of Gimli is a dwarf. However Rhys-Davies was actually the tallest of the main cast at 6'1''.
Beattie informed Polygon that he was initially hired to do horse stunts. But after Rhys-Davies started suffering a bad allergic reaction to his character's facial prosthetics, Beattie stepped in to play Gimli much more often.
"I am aware that a lot of the people, even hard-core '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," Beattie told the publication "with a good-natured laugh".
He added: "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."
Beattie says he spent 189 days, or 2300 hours, playing Gimli altogether. He recalled watching a YouTube video of one minute and a half of Gimli fight scenes in which only about four seconds of the edit wasn't him.
Beattie has a height of 4'10' and before 'Lord of the Rings' had done little acting. But he was a black belt in martial arts and had plenty of horse-riding experience.
He suffered a number of injuries during the shoot, including blowing out both his knees.
He recently had to get his third knee reconstruction, and said: "The surgeon was asking me how I got those injuries, and I was like, 'Well, I was battling Uruk-hai at Helm’s Deep'."
The Gimli stand-in also ssuffered from insomnia due to being in high demand.
"I’d get woken up — ‘Brett, you’re on!’ — and the next thing I knew I’d be running through Fangorn Forest or the Mines of Moria getting chased by goblins," he recalls. "I wasn’t awake, I wasn’t asleep, I just ended up in this really crazy state of consciousness."
Brett Beattie was told he wouldn't get a screen credit as Gimli’s stunt, scale, and photo double due to "movie politics’’ and "concerns about preserving the illusion that is Gimli." In the end, he was only credited as "stunt performer."
He says he is still proud of what he accomplished ("I knew I’d done something harder than I’d ever done in my life, and I knew I’d never work that hard again"), and he considers the tattoo he got with the 'Lord of the Rings' cast members a honour.