Irish actor Aidan Turner best known for his role as Kili in the Hobbit trilogy became a real-life hero at the Odessa International Film Festival after tackling a mugger that tried to steal a fan’s handbag.
The actor was snapped talking to female fans outside the Hotel Bristol in the Ukrainian city where he was one of the guests of honour at the event taking place until 19 July.
But as he stopped to talk to one young woman, a cyclist came alongside the couple and grabbed the woman’s handbag before accelerating off.
He said: “Fortunately I am not really as short as people who saw the film think I am. They achieved that special effect with millions of dollars of cinema trickery.”
In reality the 31-year-old actor is not only fit but also at 1.8 metres tall, much taller than his on-screen character. He quickly managed to catch up with the thief, pulling him off his bike and grabbing the handbag. But when other people ran up, in the confusion the thief managed to get back on the bike and escape.
The actor said he had been unsure what rules applied to citizens arrests in the country and after recovering the bag he had simply returned it to his grateful fan.
Afterwards after being told that he was a hero he joked: “It’s great to be a real hero for a change rather than just an on-screen one. I think the rescue though was more like something from Indiana Jones than the Hobbit.”
The actor was at the festival in between location filming for the remake of TV show Poldark. Other guests at the festival included Lord David Puttnam and director Stephen Frears, who had all wanted to support the festival given the state of unrest in the Ukraine at the moment.
He admitted that he had got the role as Kili in the Hobbit despite having to admit to the director that he had not read the book. He said: “I think the fact that I was honest with him meant that we had a trusting relationship from the start and that meant it worked well.”
He was working on the Hobbit two years filming in New Zealand and said he fell in love with the place and its natural beauty, even though it was extremely hard work especially with the heavy armour and filming on a daily basis.
He said: “Sometimes I just hope my character would die off as well.”
In between filming he said they passed the time playing football and that it was strange seeing characters dressed as orcs smoking cigarettes and drinking bottles of Coke while waiting for the next thing to be prepared, or even wearing full battle armour whilst playing on a PlayStation.