Don’t miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Aragorn's Stunt Double Kirk Maxwell. Book your favourite Lord Of The Rings Tours Now!
Introducing Kirk Maxwell - Aragorn's Stunt Double
Kirk Maxwell- Aragorn’s Stunt Double!
Kia Ora Friends,
This week I had the opportunity to meet with Aragorn’s Stunt Double Kirk Maxwell!
He graciously gave me an hour and a half of his time. I asked as many questions as I could, regarding his time and work on The Lord of the Rings movie Trilogies.
Here are some snippets of our meeting. For those of you keen to meet Kirk in person and hear his amazing stories, book our August or September 2018 Lord of the Ring Tours where he will be a special guest.
Q & A session:
What roles did you play?
“Aragorn, Rohirrim, Gondorian, Orcs and Uruk Hai”
What was your main role?
“I started out as one of the stunt performers then got chosen to be the Aragorn's stunt double, then I became the Assitant Sword Master to Bob Anderson. Then for the pick ups after principal photography was completed I came back as the NZ Stunt Coordinator and choreographed the Stunt sequences and all the fight scenes and was Stunt Double for Aragorn.”
“After we had run through each scene a couple of times Viggo would then step in as Aragorn and shoot the scene. Viggo was a very quick study and famous for doing one take. The director would always want another take though for safety.”
How dangerous were they?
“It was my job to put together the fight scenes, isolate the hazards and find ways of delivering the scene with minimal calculated risks. I was aware and concerned with the safety of the Stunt team and the actors that would follow in our footsteps. The environment of each location was very challenging.”
Do you have a favourite location or stunt?
“I enjoyed all of the fight scenes. I have a martial arts background and enjoyed the physicality of the challenge. Doing fight scenes is like performing a very aggressive dance and when the timing clicks it’s very energizing and rewarding. Bob Anderson taught me that every fight scene is like a conversation between two swords”
What was it like working with Viggo?
“It was great, I learned so much. Viggo was a very physical person, had no fear and totally absorbed his character. He threw himself into everything 110%. He got on well with the Stunt team and was one of us. He also did many acts of random kindness that his fellow crew appreciated.”
What was sword mastery like and working with Bob Anderson?
“Yes Bob was a very good drill Sargent. He was a legend… he was a PT instructor for in the British Army, an ex Olympic Fencing coach and he started his career as a stunt double for Errol Flynn back in the day. His credit list was amazing…Bond, ZORRO, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean etc..
After he left the project I took over Bobs duties of fight choreography and training our actors”
My LEGIT question would be more like "what was the best part of working on LOTR" or "What advice would you give someone who wants to get into stunt work?”
“The best part is the people, we were a family. I recommend you build a base: skills, body work, fighting, know your rigging and be responsible for your own safety plan and calculate risks.”
I would love to know which stunt from the LOTR he is most proud of. ‘Stunties’ don't often get the spotlight, much respect to him!
“Everything! Especially the creative expression of choreographing the sword fighting sequences. I was very fortunate to be in the position of Doubling for Viggo, it’s a part of my history I will always cherish.”
Did he feel left out when Liv demanded on kissing Viggo, and not the stunt double? I read that long ago ....
“No, not at all. I would have been too shy, that’s the actors job.”
Viggo as a prankster: Okay, then what was Viggo's best prank on him? ;)
“Viggo had a very dry sense of humour, sometimes you didn’t know if he was serious or just having a laugh. He was very laid back, he would walk around Cuba Street (Wellington) in bare feet. He would go fishing and ride his horse as much as possible. He was a very accomplished rider. He did however develop a thing of head butting the fellow Stunt team members at social gatherings….there were plenty of sore heads. Enough said…”
I remember Bob Anderson mentioning on one of the DVD’s that Viggo was a natural with sword work. Did Viggo do all his sword stunts, or did the stunt double do some of them (which ones, if so?)
“Viggo was a very quick study. The scene on Amon Hen where Aragorn takes on 30 Urukhai, we had practiced that for 6 weeks. Viggo had two weeks and got it right in one take. It was a vicious and aggressive battle, Viggo hit every member and bent 2 swords.”
What was the most difficult stunt that you did?
“Each had its own difficulty either by way of location, rigging, falling, fighting etc. Helms Deep would have been the most challenging though due to everything being shot at night in the rain..it was an exhausting time for everyone involved.”
Did he have any accidents and near misses like Viggo Mortensen did?
“Yes at Helms Deep I was on the ladder with another stunt performer who was the Arwen stunt double, and on one of the rehearsals the ladder went the wrong way and hit the ground hard. This is why the rehearsal process is vital to getting the shot right.”
Did he adopt any of Viggo's method acting ideas to stay in character at all times? To ensure continuity?
“Yes, I would practice his movements and mannerisms, using them in his roles.”
What other movies has he been involved in since LOTR?
“Pirates of the Caribbean, I was one of Jonny Depp’s Stunt Doubles and also Will Turner for Orlando plus being a Pirate and a stunt double for one of the digital characters.”
Screen actors guild awards:
- Outstanding performance by Stunt Ensemble: Pirates of the Caribbean, At Worlds End, 2007
- Best fight: Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest, 2006
- King Kong, 2005
Don’t miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity, Book now and meet Aragorn's Stunt Double for yourself!
What people have said
Everything about this tour was amazing! Our tour guide Julie is a true LOTR fan, and made sure everybody was looked after. The locations were well researched and meaningful. Even after the tour ended, Julie has kept in touch as we all went our separate ways and travelled home to various parts of...
This is the best and ONLY way for a LOtR/Hobbit fan to experience New Zealand. Julie and her team are fantastic, knowledgeable people who, you can tell, put so much time and effort into making sure your experience with them is an amazing one! You will not regret choosing them as your guides...
Amazing and so well worth it! Days in a row of just being excited for something alone was something special to me but also meeting like-minded people who were so accepting and fun was fantastic! Julie James is a treasure - handles everything with grace and was just everything you want in a tour...
With Julie James as our guide (Feb. 2018) on the 14 day tour... it was excellent! She always took every effort and opportunity to see to everyone's requests. The hotels we stayed in were wonderful. The meals were delicious. But the tour itself??? Awesome!!! We had big LOTR and the Hobbit...
I went solo and am a bit of an introvert, but Julie and the rest of the tour members made this an unforgettable experience and made me feel right at home. This was number one on my bucket list and it exceeded my expectations across the board. If you're contemplating booking this tour, just...
Traveling New Zealand with RCT and Julie was amazing. It was the trip of a lifetime (but I hope to do it again!). It was very well put together and we got to see such amazing sites and do so many awesome things. I can't even name what my favorite part of the whole tour was because it was...
Just concluded my third trip with Red Carpet Tours. 5 stars for the 3rd time running! Excellent planning and attention to detail by the James Family and fabulous guiding by Julie. Once again, a very lovely, friendly ‘Fellowship’ of travellers with a common interest. You might expect...
My second tour through Middle Earth (New Zealand) was just as wonderful as the first, the locations you are taken to are just amazing. Best suited for people with interest in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, you make so many friends throughout your journey that you become your own...
From first contact with the James family, and the Lord of the Rings-Red Carpet Tours, you are in the best of hands. You expect so much on the tour but you receive so much more. I came back from my first tour believing I'd never have a better, truly satisfying experience, and they could...
Red Carpet Tours is a fabulous company - been with them 3 times. I agree with others posted here that it is the BEST way to see New Zealand, especially if you are a "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" fan - and even if you're not! From all the Magnificent New Zealand...