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Treebeard's Stumper
13 December 2002

Size Shifting

The holidays bring many treats, including movies! Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are school favorites of course, and they share a stumper about size. Hagrid would tower over Gimli, but the actors Robbie Coltrane and John Rhys-Davies both stand 6'1" tall. Gandalf hit his head in Bilbo's house, but actor Ian McKellen is only a bit taller than Ian Holm and Elijah Wood. Surely these movies are not all blue screen mattes and CGI effects. How did they do it? We have research to do at The Two Towers premiere next week! Can you make your own photo example?

I checked the cast info at The Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
Clockwise from upper-left, the Fellowship of the Ring actors are:

  AragornViggo Mortensen5'11"
  GandalfIan McKellen5'11"
  LegolasOrlando Bloom5'11"
  BoromirSean Bean5'11"
  GimliJohn Rhys-Davies6'1"
  PippinBilly Boyd5'7"
  MerryDominic Monaghan5'6"
  FrodoElijah Wood5'7"
  SamSean Astin5'5"


From the Harry Potter cast, we also have:

  HagridRobbie Coltrane6'1"
  HarryDaniel Radcliff5'3"


There is some logic to this casting, but there is also real movie magic. I wish I could find a photo of Hagrid the Giant and Gimli the Dwarf side by side! How do these movies perform such convincing size shifting of their cast? Can you make your own photo example?

Answer


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Copyright © 2002 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org