8 Actors That Look Completely Different From Their Middle Earth Character

One Ring to rule them all and six movies to tell the tale! It’s been 15 years since Director Peter Jackson introduced us to Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and a year since we had to say goodbye in the final installment of The Hobbit saga. From orcs to hobbits to dragons, Jackson’s two trilogies encompass a host of mythical creatures. See what these Tolkien-inspired characters look like without their magical makeover.

Sir Ian McKellan as Gandalf 
Ian McKellen, The Hobbit
Getty Images/Warner Bros. via Everett Collection
British legend and Shakespearean actor Ian McKellan has graced American film with roles in the X-Men series (Magneto) and, of course, as the wise wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While his transformation is less drastic than other Middle Earth characters, the long scraggly beard of Gandalf the Grey and then the long white (and stylin') mane of Gandalf the White definitely masks McKellan's clean-cut appearance
Manu Bennett as Azog The Defiler
Manu Bennett, The Hobbit
Getty Images/Warner Bros.

Bennett received quite the CGI-makeover while playing the vicious antagonist of The Hobbit movies. He is a TV actor in Australia and New Zealand and isn't too bad on the eyes in real life!

Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol
Andy Serkis, The Hobbit
Getty Images/Warner Bros. via Everett Collection

This famous voice actor went to great lengths to get this iconic Tolkien character right. Though Gollum was partially a work of CGI magic, Serkis performed all of his scenes wearing a special CGI suit that tracks facial expression and movement. He can most recently be seen as Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Lawrence Makoare as Lurtz the Uruk-Hai 
Lawrence Makoare, The Lord Of The Rings
Getty Images/New Line Cinema via Everett Collection

You may not have known that the head orc in The Fellowship of the Ring had a name, but you certainly remember him as the one who scared you as a kid. Actor Makoare is a native New Zealander with Maori descent. He worked in road construction before taking on the career of stuntman. He also portrayed the Witch-King in The Lord of the Rings movies.

Conan Stevens as Bolg 
Conan Stevens, The Hobbit
IMDB/Jimmie Wing/Warner Bros.

The role of Bolg was split between Conan Stevens and Lawrence Makoare. Stevens not only acts but is a scriptwriter and an Australian wrestler! You might also recognize him as Gregor Clegane in season one of Game of Thrones.

Barry Humphries as The Great Goblin
Barry Humphries, The Hobbit
Getty Images/Warner Bros.

Who knew that the Great Goblin in An Unexpected Journey was played by the same guy who voiced Bruce in Finding Nemo?! That's right. The same voice that uttered "Fish are friends, not food!" voiced the semi-creepy goblin king. Humphries is also a comedian, author, producer, and scriptwriter, West End actor and painter!

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John Rhys-Davis as Treebeard
John Rhys-Davies, The Lord Of The Rings
Getty Images/New Line Cinema

You may recognize Rhys-Davis as Gimli the Dwarf in The Lord of the Rings (or Viscount Mabrey in Princess Diaries 2!), but he also lent his voice to Treebeard the Ent in The Two Towers. Treebeard even kind of looks like him!

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Hobbit
Getty Images/Warner Bros.

The popular Oscar nominee lent his voice to Tolkien's world as Smaug the dragon. This feisty and fiery beast steals the show in The Desolation of Smaug, showing that Cumberbatch can kill it even as a mythical creature! He also voiced The Necromancer in the films.