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Robert Downey Jr. is shown in a scene from Sherlock Holmes. Acadian wrestler Robert Maillet gave him an accidental punch during shooting last November. ((Warner Bros. Pictures/Associated Press))

A larger-than-life Acadian wrestler is about to grab some screen time alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the new movie Sherlock Holmes.

Robert Maillet stands a ceiling-scraping seven feet tall and wrestles under the name Kurrgan.

His first movie role was in the film 300 but he's attracted even more attention with his performance as a villain in Sherlock Holmes because of a scene that went wrong.

While shooting last November, Maillet accidentally hit Downey.

"I knocked him down, but not knocked out — he was still conscious, but barely," Maillet recalled in an interview with CBC News in Montreal.

"Basically, he zigged and I zagged, hit him in the mouth. It happened so fast, that even I didn't realize what happened, and he went down. Blood was coming out of his mouth."

Downey Jr. took it all in stride, buying him a bottle of champagne to show there were no hard feelings.

Maillet plays a villain "kind of like the Jaws character from James Bond," with his huge size and a silver tooth.

'Treated like a movie star'

Early in the shooting, director Guy Ritchie enlarged his role.

"At first I only had a couple of lines, but the day of filming, they found out that I spoke French, so Guy Ritchie had this idea to make me into a Frenchman, and I got more lines," he said.

Maillet lives in Ste. Marie-de-Kent, N.B., and works as a machine operator. He was trained as a wrestler by Bret Hart and Stephen Petitpas and made his debut in 1989.

"It's weird. I go from that to doing movies and being treated like a movie star," he said.

In 300, a film about the Spartan's war with the Persians, he played the Uber Immortal after being referred for the role by a wrestling contact.

He said he took to acting immediately.

"For me, it's not much of a stretch, it's all telling a story. Wrestling is theatre, physical theatre. You tell a story in a ring," Maillet said.

After Sherlock Holmes, which opens next week, Maillet has a role in The Big Bang, with Antonio Banderas and Sam Elliott.

With files from CBC's Anna Asimakopulos