If you're a fan of The Lord of the Rings, then my guess is that you probably know the films, and maybe even the books, inside out. The journey to Mordor was a dark and treacherous one, with many of our favorite characters lost along the way. But did you know that the cast was almost very different for this famous trilogy?
You may have heard how the beautiful Starman, David Bowie, expressed interest at being Elrond. Sadly for me and all the other Bowie fans out there, Jackson decided that he was uncomfortable with a beloved character and the famously eccentric star colliding. So, what about the rest of the cast? Here are just some of the many who decided against taking a role in the trilogy.
Patrick McGoohan as Gandalf
Patrick, who sadly died in 2009 was one of the most loved stars in British television in the '50s and '60s. He was most famous for his parts in Braveheart, Escape from Alcatraz and Secret Agent. His incredible acting skills attracted the attention of the casting directors. He decided not to accept this offer due to his ill health. It is a real shame that he had to decline as he was incredible in his role of King Edward I in Braveheart.
Liam Neeson as Boromir
Even this famous Northern Irish actor negotiated for a roll in the fantasy-trilogy. But, he decided against it as he had too much on his plate at the time. In 1999 he famously took the part of the Jedi-Meister Qui-Gon Jin in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. He was already settled and comfortable within the Star Wars franchise. Despite this, I am pretty sure he would have totally nailed the part as the son of Gondor.
Stuart Townsend as Aragorn
The star of Queen of the Damned auditioned for Aragorn. He trained tirelessly for two months and even started filming for a couple of days. But then Peter Jackson decided that the actor was too young for this part and swiftly replaced him with Viggo Mortensen.
Russell Crowe as Aragorn (II)
Russell not only turned down the trilogy role but amazingly he also turned down £56 million ($85 million) all at the same time. It was a cautious decision that he made because at the time, the film's budget was under pressure. So, the producers told him they could only pay him 10 per cent of the profits instead of an upfront fee. As he gave a talk to students at Durham University, Crowe revealed.
''If I had taken that film, I wouldn’t be here.''
Daniel Day-Lewis as Aragorn (III)
Daniel was one of Jackson's first picks and was repeatedly offered the role of Aragorn but kept turning it down. But the actor was not one bit interested, which he told MTV.
"[This is] not meant to belittle those films or the people [who work on them], because there are people that need to do those films and love to do those films they can be fantastically entertaining for the people who love to see them, but it's not for me.''
Nicolas Cage as Aragorn (IV)
Nicolas was offered roles in The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix but turned them both down. He shared his reasons with MTV.
“There was a couple of movies that I was offered, but I had good reasons I couldn’t do them One was ’The Matrix,’ and then ’The Lord of the Rings, but I thought what Viggo did was terrific. … Both are great movies, but they were both shot for great quantities of time — I mean years. Australia was ’The Matrix,’ and New Zealand was ’The Lord of the Rings.’ I had family obligations, so I’m glad I stayed and had those experiences with my family.”
Alison Doody as Éowyn
It is no surprise really that Alison was considered for the role as she already posses the ethereal beauty of the character. You may recognize this actress from her roles in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Secret Garden and Beaver Falls. She was offered the role but at the time was pregnant so could not even consider it. Another film which Alison famously turned down was Batman Forever.
Ethan Hawke as Faramir
The star of Boyhood was lined up to take the part of Boromir's brother. But, at the last moment he had to withdraw and so David Wenham replaced him. Ethan could not go forward with the role as he had too much going on at the time. The actor was busy with filming Training Day and also working on Hamlet.
Lucy Lawless as Galadriel
Remember Lucy who played the incredibly badass in Xena: Warrior Princess? This actress was invited to audition for the part of Galadriel but turned it down. She explained her reasons why to Backstage
''They wanted me to come down and talk to them about 'Lord of the Rings,' but I was pregnant at the time. I didn't feel I could do it; I was too wiped out. I didn't realize that these movies would take three years to film, so I probably could have done it. I wish I had gone along to that, but in that moment, I wasn't in any shape to explore it."
Uma Thurman as Éowyn
Quentin Tarantino's muse, Uma Thurman still sometimes regrets turning down the role. But, she had good reason, too. She spoke to the Herald about her regrets.
''I wish I had done it. I had a small child at the time, and I couldn't go away for a year. I was just too attached to home. It just caught me at the wrong moment. Oh, I truly wish I could've been able to take that plunge, and maybe I should have, but I just couldn't at the time."
A fun fact about this, is that the child's dad is Ethan Hawke, who was almost cast as Faramir.
If these actors were cast instead, the feel of the trilogy could have been quite different. As Galadriel once said:
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”