When we finish a book like The Lord of the Rings, full of numerous characters, stories and adventures, it’s not that we don’t know how the movie will be made, we can’t even imagine how someone can be so brave and creative to even start thinking about it. And still we have it and we enjoy it and are mostly satisfied with the outcome.
Especially the casting part. Because we definitely had our own visions of a perfect cast. Most of the time, producers and directors don’t always see the chosen actor as the perfect one and this was the case with the trilogy, too.
Unbelievable to grasp, but Viggo Mortensen wasn’t even the second choice for Aragorn, the role of Gandalf was offered to two other famous and beloved British actors and there was an actress so interesting that she was offered both the roles of Arwen and later Eowyn. Before Miranda Otto got the part, the producers thought that Eowyn should be played by a more popular actress at the time.
But some of them were prevented by private matters, some didn’t want to play the roles offered and some simply turned down the offers, even more than once. Here is a list of actors who almost got cast in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Daniel Day Lewis, Russell Crowe and Nicholas Cage – Aragorn
After seeing Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn for the first time, it didn’t even occur to me that he wasn’t the first choice for the role. He carried it out so naturally and effortlessly that I didn’t even think of the possibility that there was not only one, but at least three actors who were considered for this part.
It might be because Mortensen wasn’t that popular at the moment, being cast mostly as a supporting actor in several interesting movies and Lewis, Crowe and Cage already had numerous box office hits and Oscars in their hands.
Even the then young Stuart Townsend almost started with the filming, but two days before the shoot he was informed about the change of plans. After being cast as Aragorn, Mortensen gained huge popularity and proved to be one of the best actors of his generation.
Uma Thurman – Arwen
Tarantino’s muse, the talented beauty who was popular during the nineties mostly for her iconic and unforgettable role as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction and Poison Ivy in probably the worst Batman movie that’s ever been made. She couldn’t take the part because she was pregnant at the time, but the producers offered her the role of Eowyn in the later movies, which she again turned down.
Guess she didn’t have faith in the great success this movie would be. Honestly, I can’t imagine her in this role, especially after Liv Tyler gave an outstanding performance, being the perfect Arwen.
Kate Winslet – Eowyn
I don’t remember the time when Kate Winslet wasn’t at the peak of her career. She started with Peter Jackson in his absolute masterpiece Heavenly Creatures where she showed all of her talents and bravery in front of the camera.
Maybe because of his experience with her dedication and brilliance, Jackson wanted to see her in the role of gentle and fragile, but strong willed and stubborn Eowyn. Winslet turned down the role, for reasons unknown at the time, but Miranda Otto proved to be a great choice.
Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart – Gandalf
It seems that Gandalf was meant to be played by a Sir. Sir Sean Connery was offered the role of the great wizard, but he turned it down with the explanation that he is not a fan of the fantasy genre. Sir Patrick Stewart was also considered for the same part, but he wasn’t satisfied with this option since he expected to play another character.
Although these two great actors could have been a good choice for Gandalf, Sir Ian McKellen proved to be the perfect one, still being associated mostly with this role, among many fantastic roles we have seen him in, together with his numerous theatre performances.
Jake Gyllenhaal – Frodo
One of the most unbelievable and even funniest casting possibilities was the one about Frodo Baggins, who in the end we cannot imagine as anyone else but Elijah Wood. Jake Gyllenhaal was offered this role and even got a private audition, but as he didn’t know that the British accent was required, he didn’ t prepare and completely messed up the audition.
Maybe it was for the best. Excellent in almost every movie, Jake Gyllenhaal is nevertheless a better choice for different roles, which he proved himself in.
Liam Neeson – Boromir
One of the greatest and biggest actors, who was a huge success in the nineties, Liam Neeson, was offered the role of Boromir, which would have been an excellent choice, but he turned it down because he didn’t want to end up dead in the first sequel, as he did in Star Wars saga.
Again, not a bad solution, since the outcome couldn’t be better. We were introduced to a wonderful actor, who was until then mostly seen in British tv series and movies. Sean Bean really gained his popularity through The Lord of the Rings and we cannot imagine a better Boromir.
David Bowie – Elrond
This is the combination I could easily imagine. Who wouldn’t like and want to see Bowie as an elf, after watching him in his brilliant role of Jareth in The Labyrinth. This is one of the most logical possibilities at the time, since Bowie really had something elvish in him in real life, too.
But it was only his wish, since Jackson and his producers thought that he was too famous and therefore not a great choice for the role of Elrond, which, again, in the end, was perfectly cast, bringing the talented and charismatic Hugo Weaving on the big screen.
We couldn’t go on and on about the possibilities of different actors in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I think I speak for the majority when I say that this is one the best film crews ever and that not a single actor or actress wasn’t thought of in detail.