Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Connolly 'tickled' to transform into a dwarf warrior - in a fat suit

Billy Connolly. Photo / APN
Billy Connolly. Photo / APN

Comedy superstar Billy Connolly will squeeze into a fat suit to make him look shorter for his role as a dwarf in The Hobbit.

The New York-based funnyman travelled to New Zealand last week to prepare for filming.

The 1.8m tall Scot - nicknamed the Big Yin - will be transformed into the Wee Yin when he plays tiny warrior Dain Ironfoot in Peter Jackson's two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

"Billy is a pretty tall guy and he has been measured up for a fat suit so he'll appear a lot smaller on screen," a source close to Connolly told the Herald on Sunday. "He has been fairly tickled by it all."

For battle scenes, the 69-year-old comic and actor has also been kitted out in a suit of armour that he described as "weighing a ton".

Connolly - married to former Kiwi television-star-turned-sex-therapist Pamela Stephenson - is pleased at landing the job because it means he can go fishing.

"When Billy was in New Zealand filming The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise a few years back he got time to fish and he loved it," the source added.

"He says the country is 'trout heaven'. He seemed more excited at the prospect of going fishing again than he was about appearing in the movie."

Connolly joins an all-star cast that includes Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis.

Hobbit director Jackson last month said he was eager to see Connolly in action. "With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of The Hobbit is now complete. We can't wait to see him on the battlefield," Jackson said.

- Herald on Sunday

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