Spotlight on John Rhys-Davies
Sallah from Indiana Jones, Gimli son of Gloin in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Professor Arturo from the classic FOX sci-fi series Sliders and many many more. The ever-warm and well spoken John Rhys-Davies has been in many iconic film and TV roles and it was a delight to get a chance to see him in person. The man clearly revels in the characters he has portrayed and throughout his conversation he would continually shift between them. Gimli, arguably, spent more time on stage than Davies himself.
When asked if any of his fellow LOTR cast members were difficult to work with, he replied:
"There was only one miserable asshole on Lord of the Rings and, unfortunately, I wore his boots everyday" .
He spoke of how the facial prosthetic makeup he wore for the role had removed all of the skin underneath his eyes. His significant other at the time had actually told him, "I can't bare to look at you any longer. I've got to go back to LA".
"The shark went hungry that year!", he boomed.
He had nothing but good things to say about everyone else on set, calling them all "marvelous people" and even mentioned a time when he came upon co-star, Sean Bean in an airport, arms loaded with luggage. The luggage, it turned out, belonged to an elderly couple he had never met but was helping to catch their flight.
"Sean, let me give you a hand. Who are these people?"
"I don't actually know their names"
Spotlight on Willaim Shatner
The theme of this spotlight was ..uh ..give me a second ...Oh! Right! Forgetfulness.
William Shatner is an icon, a legend and ...he's getting on in years. However, he made this fact easy to forget. The 86 year old actor came out brimming with energy and pushed his chair to the front of the stage. The only spotlight guest to remain on stage solo for the entirety of his panel, he needed no moderator.
He began by comparing Robert Goulet's blanking on the words to the American national anthem with a story about a broken teleprompter during his involvement with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The story's theme conveyed his fear of forgetting his lines as an aging actor. Sometimes having to stop during the anecdote and try to remember what he was talking bout, Shatner drew laughter from the audience.
Opening up the floor to questions, Shatner was addressed by a young woman who found his portrayal of smart-aleck lawyer with dementia, Denny Crane, in the ABC series, Boston Legal, helpful in relating to and dealing with her own family member's struggle with the disease. He opened up about his preparation for the role, stating that his father-in-law suffered from the condition and had allowed him to record his spoken thoughts during times of forgetfulness.