A commanding 6”3” presence, Lawrence has often played heavies and villains. His physicality was put to use in ‘The Lord of The Rings’ Trilogy bringing him global recognition when he played not only Lurtz, the leader of the Uruk-Hai in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ but also Gothmog, the leader of Sauron’s new race of Orcs in ‘The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King’ who was described by the film makers as a cross between John Wayne and the Elephant Man, and the towering, helmeted Witch-King, who engages Eowyn in battle.
‘The Dead Lands’ directed by Toa Fraser with it’s world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, provides Lawrence with his most complex role to date - The Warrior. It’s a physically demanding and emotionally resonant lead role with the added dimension of being played entirely in Te Reo Maori.
Immediately after ‘The Dead Lands’, Lawrence went on to star as series regular ZaBing in ‘Marco Polo’ the drama series produced by The Weinstein Company for Netflix, filmed in Malaysia. The show, which will have a 10-episode first season is rumoured to premiere on Netflix in late 2014.
Lawrence was discovered by the late Don Selwyn, who ran drama classes for young Maori in the early 1990s. He says he was a road maintenance worker who stumbled into acting by mistake. He went to a class to support his then wife, but Selwyn encouraged him to join in and very quickly arranged his first audition.
His first role was in the Hollywood feature film ‘Rapa Nui,’ filmed on Easter Island. His other features include ‘The Price of Milk,’ ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’, ‘The Feathers of Peace’ and a lead role in ‘Crooked Earth,’ starring alongside Temuera Morrison as his brother.
In 2002 Lawrence played the Prince of Morocco in Don Selwyn’s landmark production of ‘The Maori Merchant of Venice’ the same year he joined the special brotherhood of Bond villains in ‘Die Another Day’ directed by Lee Tamahori.
Lawrence’s television work includes 'Xena: Warrior Princess', 'Young Hercules', 'Greenstone', 'Mirror Mirror', and the He Taonga Films dramas ‘ITFM’ and ‘Oma Rapin’ plus short films and commercials.
Of Ngati Whatua descent, Lawrence grew up in Bastion Point, Auckland , where he still lives.