Jake Gyllenhaal was one of many who auditioned for Frodo Baggins, but bombed so badly that director Peter Jackson called him the worst actor he had ever seen.
Read on for more near-castings in “Lord of the Rings.” You can also find “Fellowship of the Ring” trivia, quotes and goofs on IMDB.
Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart, and Christopher Plummer were all offered the role of Middle-Earth protector Gandalf. When they turned it down, Sam Neill was considered before Ian McKellen accepted the role he was born to play.
Every “Fellowship” fan knows the labored story of finding Aragorn: the producers cast 27-year-old Irish thespian Stuart Townsend before Peter Jackson decided to replace him two days before he was supposed to begin filming. Luckily, Viggo Mortensen accepted the role and was on a plane the next day.
Before Mortensen and Townsend, Daniel-Day Lewis, Nicolas Cage and Russell Crowe were offered the role. As a New Zealand native, Crowe was particularly interested in joining, but turned it down over budget issues.
Music legend David Bowie wanted the part of Elven leader Elrond, but Jackson and company were concerned his superstar status would distract the audience from the story of “Fellowship” and went with Australian thesp Hugo Weaving.
Tom Wilkinson was considered for a part in the trilogy, but had to turn the producers down. “I was never offered a role outright,” he said. “They did what was called an ‘availability check.’” Though we may never know for sure, it’s fun to think of who they could have had him in mind for (my money’s on Theoden).
Christopher Lee auditioned for Gandalf, but Jackson already had in mind for Saruman. Jackson recalled how their initial meeting took an awkward turn when they realized, at the same time, that they were talking about different roles for the acclaimed actor.
Almost There (cont’d)
Sylvester McCoy was considered for to play Bilbo in “Lord of the Rings.” He was essentially kept as a backup in case something happened with Ian Holm. But he found his true Middle-Earth calling as Radagast, the animal-friendly wizard colleague of Gandalf.
Discover more trivia, goofs and quotes on IMDB.