Lawrence considers having the opportunity of working closely with Christopher Lee in The Fellowship of the Ring to have been the highpoint of his career, since he was a big fan of Lee's horror films growing up.
Even after being in The Lord of the Rings movies, Lawrence still hasn't actually read any of the books. He says he's not much of a reader, but he had some friends who were big fans of the novels who coached him on the story before he auditioned.
Lawrence originally auditioned for the part of Ugluk in the second movie of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The part went to fellow Kiwi actor Nathaniel Lees, but Lawrence was given what he considers a much better role, since Lurtz was featured in much more of The Fellowship of the Ring, and from there went on to play the Witchking of Angmar, Gothmog, and an unnamed Uruk-Hai in The Return of the King.
For Lawrence's role of Lurtz the Uruk-Hai in The Fellowship of the Ring, he was covered over almost his entire body with prosthetics. It sometimes took eleven hours and six people to get him into make-up, and another four to get back out of it after a twelve hour shoot. What made it even more gruelling was that he had to stand the entire time they were putting the prosthetics on wearing nothing but a g-string!
When Lawrence was co-starring in the movie Crooked Earth with Temuera Morrison, he teased Tem that he was a bigger success, since they had made two action figures of characters he played in The Lord of the Rings movies, whereas Temuera only had one of him from the Star Wars trilogy.
In 2006, Lawrence passed the business course he was taking, and used his new entrepreneurial skills to start his own business, "Temporary Airbrush Tattoos". They last 4-7 days, and feature traditional Maori designs and mokos.
Lawrence has traveled around the world as a guest star at numerous Lord of the Rings conventions, including the London Expo and Collectamania 5 in 2004. He says he goes to conventions because he likes to get the chance to interact with fans, and because the money helps to tide him over between acting jobs.
Peter Jackson asked Lawrence and his Return of the King co-stars Miranda Otto (Eowyn) and Dominic Monaghan (Merry) to reshoot the their battle scene, because he felt that Lawrence's Witchking armor was too similar to Sauron's armor in a previous clip.
In 2002, Lawrence was nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" in the movie Crooked Earth at the Nokia Film and Television awards.
Lawrence is the youngest of 15 children born to Olive Hine-Nui-Tepo Weneti Maihi & Romano Ronald Makoare. Lawrence himself has five children, Sharai, Hore, Harley, Billie, and Jesse.
Lawrence's live performance credits include participating in the Opening Ceremony of the 1990 Commonwealth Games (Peter Sharples, choreographer) and the Waitangi Re-enactment in the 250 years Treaty Celebrations of New Zealand (Dir. Don Selwyn).
Lawrence says that he would love to dress up in his Uruk-Hai costume from The Fellowship of the Ring and go trick-or-treating with his kids someday just for fun.
Lawrence speaks with a New Zealand accent ordinarily, but has been trained in acting with several American accents as well as Maori.
Lawrence is very musical, playing the guitar and singing tenor/baritone in a number of styles, including blues, country & western, pop, rock, and musical theatre.
Lawrence is 6'3" (190 cm), with black hair and brown eyes.
Lawrence is represented professionally by the Robert Bruce Agency. He's also listed with the Luko Agency, which books actors for conventions; Lawrence makes guest appearances for the roles of Lurtz, the Witchking, and Gothmog for The Lord of the Rings.
Lawrence: (on being in the "LOTR" movies) Sometimes I'd be standing in this set and even though if you could walk around the back and see all the clapboard and scaffolding, the sets were so much like another world. And Peter Jackson would be there and I'd just be pinching myself.
Lawrence: (on how he developed his characters for "LOTR") That was a hard thing about these characters, where do you look for inspiration, for a character you have never heard of, and have never seen before? I was given a synopsis of the character, but had to wait until I was actually in costume to bring the character out. The final look of the character was what I played with to bring the characters out as you really cannot work out characters from a description. I mean, you can work with it, but I think that once you are in full costume, it can totally change the view of the actor and director regarding how this character could or should be played.
Lawrence: (comparing playing the Bond villain Mr Kil to other roles) I like those characters because you don't have to remember your lines. So you don't stuff them up. It's working in those prosthetics in The Lord of the Rings that was really hard and the [Maori] Merchant of Venice, remembering those lines was really hard.
Lawrence: (on appearing at "LOTR" conventions) You just have to jump on the gravy train while the gravy's hot.
Lawrence: My friends keep saying, 'Bro, when are you going to do a film where you don't die?' I say, 'mate, when you die, that's it. When I die, I just keep coming back!'
Lawrence: (when asked his favorite role) Lurtz [from The Fellowship of the Ring] would have to be my favorite and not because of the grueling makeup, but because I had more airtime on screen and because of the people I was working with namely Viggo, Chris Lee, and Miranda.
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