An actor’s job is, of course, to act, so we don’t expect them to have real-life experience in the daring roles they play. There’s a thriving dual stunt community, especially since many actors don’t have the same physical skills and risky characters as their on-screen characters.
Still, many actors take their craft very seriously, and that includes learning incredible skills in order to be convincingly successful on set.
Every now and then, however, celebrities are able to draw on real-life experiences and incorporate them into their work. This was the case with Christopher Lee, a WWII veteran who brought grizzly realism to his work and aided the creative endeavors of none other than Peter Jackson.
Christopher Lee had a long and rich acting career
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Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in 1922 in London, England. After spending some time at Wellington College, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1941, making him an active member of the service during World War II.
As Britannica reports, Lee’s efforts to get into acting after leaving service were originally complicated by his massive body. At 6’5 “, he wasn’t what many casting directors had in mind.
He entered the company in 1946 with a role in the television show Kaleidoscope. He followed up with a role in 1948 Hall of Mirrors. It wasn’t until his 1957 portrayal of Frankenstein’s Monster that he really got noticed.
What followed was nothing less than a remarkable career. For decades, Lee has played hundreds of roles, going from unnamed roles to the leading man. He became known for horror (after describing Dracula) and mystery.
Christopher Lee had end-of-life roles in two of the biggest movie franchises
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Lee was already an accomplished actor for decades before taking on roles in two of the industry’s most successful and significant franchises.
In 2001 he was cast as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. The following year he was chosen as Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. He could cover both parts in sequels and as a voice for video game characters.
Voice work – including storytelling – would become a large part of Lee’s final projects, and he was also given senior senior roles late in his life. He remained active in the world of theater until his death in 2015 at the age of 93.
Christopher Lee taken from real life experience
Lee certainly led a decorated and eventful life before making his foray into the theater.
As Forces.net reports, his bravery on the battlefield has won him praise from several countries: “Although his service record remains confidential and Lee himself was reluctant to discuss anything on his service afterwards. upon retirement, he had been individually decorated for his bravery on the battlefield by the Czech, Yugoslav, British and Polish governments. “
While he may not have shared many details about his time in combat, he used his experiences to enrich his craft. While filming on the set of the Lord of the Rings, Lee drew from his own experiences to correct Peter Jackson’s plan for his character, as The Los Angeles Times reports.
Saruman – which Lee described – was to be stabbed in the back, and as Jackson was explaining to him how to handle the scene, Lee cut off, “Do you have any idea what kind of noise occurs when someone is stabbed in the back? Because I do.