There's a lot of speculation about who will/won't be in the proposed Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. Will Ian McKellen be back? Who will play Bilbo? Does Andy Serkis get to reprise the role of Gollum?
Well, one thing's been made sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt: John Rhys-Davies will not come back in dwarf form.
Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli the dwarf in the Rings trilogy, was asked if he could return as another dwarf (perhaps Gloin, Gimli's father?). He told Empire:
"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."
Rhys-Davies is referencing the severe allergic reaction he had to the prosthetic makeup he wore for Rings. It got so bad that he could only work one day out of every three.
When asked if he could come back for a few smaller parts, he added, "Why would you want to do it if it was just a couple of shots? When you've been 1 of 1, why would you want to be 1 of 13?"
It looks as if he's hung up his battle-axe for good, never to don the beard again. But what about another race?
"It was just a gentle 'What would you feel about putting it on again?' But no. 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."
The Hobbit will be covered in two films. The first will hit theaters in December 2011, followed by the second a year later.