Jed Brophy counts himself as lucky to have made a career — and a living — as an actor. Brophy fell into acting while training as a physical education teacher. Since then he has balanced a screen diet that ranges between the offbeat (paranoiacs, zombies, orcs) and the straight-talking (policemen, soldiers).
Brophy began acting on stage in the late 80s. Since then his theatre roles have included Begbie in Trainspotting and Picasso in Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile — not to mention dislocating his arm and being knocked out during performances of the highly-physical Skin Tight (“I just carried on — the other actor didn’t even realise that I had been knocked out”).
His screen debut was as the policeman who plays negotiator in 1988’s Small War on the Edge of Town, a National Film Unit drama about an outsider (Peter Hambleton) living in his housetruck. Brophy followed it with an "enjoyable" lead role in Gaylene Preston relationship drama Married, an hour-long piece for television, then played screen brother to Brit star Robert Powell in World War I Gallipoli tale Chunuk Bair.
Braindead proved “one of the most enjoyable shoots of anything I’ve done”. Brophy wore special harnesses and sat through two-hour make-up sessions in order to simulate a zombie whose two halves were not always working in synch. The film marked the first of many with director Peter Jackson. Brophy has gone on to a brief but memorable role in Heavenly Creatures (playing a suitor for Pauline Parker’s affections), was one of the boat crew in King Kong, and had a slew of roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (including the hobbit hungry Snaga and warg rider Sharku — both in the second film — as well as off-screen work helping wrangle the horses). He later appeared in the follow-up The Hobbit trilogy, playing dwarf Nori. In 2018 he played the sinister Darren Cates in iPhone-shot feature Blue Moon.
Along the way Brophy has played everything from love interest (Chicken) to rapist (an episode of Cover Story). In 2011 he had the moving experience of acting in based on a true story tele-movie Tangiwai - A Love Story. His grandfather was one of the coroners at Tangiwai, after the train plunged into the Whangaehu River in December 1953.
Brophy has also carved out an impressive tally of short films. Among a strong list are early Lorae Parry airport tale Virginia’s Candy, Grant Lahood classic Lemming Aid, and romantic comedy Darryn Exists. Brophy won attention for his role as Ewen, a man addicted to self-help groups in comedy Group Therapy; he was also award-nominated for his portrayal of a paranoid interior decorator in suburban surveillance story Room Tone.
Aside from his own acting, Brophy has done stints teaching acting students at Toi Whakaari and Whitireia's College of Performing Arts.
'Second skin' (Interview) - Capital Times, 14 July 2004, Page 8
'The Cast'. Tangiwai website (Broken link). Accessed 10 July 2012