Edmonton

Lord of the Rings actor John Rhys-Davies shoots independent film in Cold Lake

The Welsh actor just wrapped filming independent movie called Moments in Spacetime in Cold Lake, AB.

Actor takes on dementia role in Alberta-made film Moments in Spacetime

Actor John Rhys-Davies, known for his roles as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Indiana Jones, just wrapped filming an independent movie called Moments in Spacetime in Cold Lake, AB. (The Canadian Press)

Acclaimed actor John Rhys-Davies, known for his roles as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark, didn't have to look far for inspiration to play his latest role.

Rhys-Davies just wrapped up filming an independent movie called Moments in Spacetime in Cold Lake, Alta. The 75-year-old Welsh actor, who cared for his wife while she suffered from Alzheimer's for many years before she died, plays Mason, a character dealing with dementia.

"I think of the 42 years we were married she was probably with the cuckoos for about 30 of them," Rhys-Davies said in an interview with CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Wednesday. "And being a very clever and intelligent woman, she devised a number of strategies to get around the basic concept that a whole chunk of information had just fallen out of her memory."

"But you know dementia is a hydra-headed illness: it isn't just one simple thing," said Rhys-Davies. "It's a compound of all sorts of other things. And of course in the case of this particular character, Mason, alcohol may have a playing part in it. I think he perhaps has his worst episodes when he's been drinking heavily."

Directed by Métis-Albertan filmmaker Chris Cowden, Spacetime stars Patty Srisuwan as Macie, Mason's adopted granddaughter, whose family was killed by the Thai tsunami of 2004. Macie is tasked with caring for Mason, with whom she shares the bond of being an outsider, and she embarks on a search to understand her past and her identity.

Rhys-Davies finished his part in the film in Cold Lake on Tuesday, but shooting of the film continues.

He praised the cast and crew, and the people of Cold Lake, about 300 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

"I must say, this is my first time in Cold Lake and I love it," said Rhys-Davies. "These are really solid people. They're grounded, they're solid, and they're great Canadians."

In addition to playing the dwarf-sized character in Peter Jackson's LOTR, Rhys-Davies considers himself lucky to have enjoyed his decades-long career, which has also included voice-over work and a leading role on the television show Sliders.

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi

Reporter/editor

Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is a reporter/editor at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca. Follow her on Twitter @cbcthandiwe.

With files from CBC Edmonton's Sheena Rossiter

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