It was a unique pleasure to share a few moments of time with John Rhys-Davies on Thursday afternoon as part of FanX. Reporters were able to ask him a few questions before his appearance in the Grand Ballroom before thousands of his fans.
His fans included one man who enjoyed the voiceover work Rhys-Davies did for a video game in the 1990s. Although not afraid to make a joke about recalling what happened that day, Rhys-Davies was polite in saying that he couldn't remember that one day's worth of work about 20 years ago.
As anyone who has seen his work in films such as the "Indiana Jones" series or the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy knows, Rhys-Davies is a champion performer. Those skills were on display Thursday at the Salt Palace.
I asked him what I thought would be a simple question that would be get a straightforward answer but would hopefully be relevant to our readers in Utah.
That question was "You've been to Utah before. What's your favorite part about being in Utah?"
Rhys-Davies' response was lengthy and quickly shifted from Utah to what it means to be human.
Rhys-Davies quickly said he liked the people in Utah and he enjoyed traveling. He didn't necessarily care for the actual travel, but enjoyed being in a different context.
He also commented generally about some of Utah's unique societal structures.
"I particularly like Utah because I think you're running some very peculiar social experiments and I think the rest of the world could learn from them," Rhys-Davies said.
Rhys-Davies may not like traveling, but his response took flight at that point. Over the next several minutes, he contemplated what it means to be human and the act of growing up.
Part of his response included relating a rite of passage that some groups in Africa undertook where boys have to kill a lion before they could be considered men. As they prepared for the ritual, the boys could see that a mistake confronting the lion could bring great harm.
Rhys-Davies also remarked on being in a plane crash in 1985 and how he felt at the time that his life would be a waste whether or not he walked away from the crash.
He concluded that all men, if they're lucky to face a life-defining test, will have something with others that have come before.
All of that, and more, was from my very basic question. I'm not sure how much of it resonates, but it's certainly interesting how far Rhys-Davies can run with the ball when it's handed to him.
That skill was apparent throughout his Q-and-A session in the Grand Ballroom. Although there weren't quite as many tangents, Rhys-Davies took the audience on a good-natured adventure every time he answered a question.