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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Actors Who Refused Roles In Lord Of The Rings


Apr 19, 10:11pm

Post #1 of 18 (2162 views)
Actors Who Refused Roles In Lord Of The Rings Can't Post


Chen G.

Apr 19, 11:01pm

Post #2 of 18 (2138 views)
Patently false [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson never wanted Connery or Plummer: they were studio ideas to do with name recognition. I believe he considered Nigel Hawthorne, but that was clearly not practical and so it went to Ian McKellen, although they naturally auditioned other actors, as well.

Day-Lewis did come up in early discussions with Miramax, and Jackson did try him once, but he wasnít in any way Jacksonís dream choice.

Cage was another studio suggestion, and it wasnít even for the role of Aragorn but of Boromir, and Jackson refused. Crowe also auditioned for Boromir but later was a backup choice in case Mortensen declined the role of Aragorn.

Blanchett was the first choice for Galadriel: Lucy Lawless was a backup.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 19, 11:09pm)

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 20, 3:17am

Post #3 of 18 (2107 views)
Connery was asked, though. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd have to dig through the files on my personal computer to get the exact quote, but he replied with something like, "Hobbits? What are they?" and turned the role down.

After that he turned down a role in another fantasy movie that made it big (I can't for the life of me remember what it was) so that when The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen came around he signed on, not wanting to miss out on a third hit - but it flopped.

I'll try to look through my files tonight. From memory, it came from something PJ said during the Wellington film premier of ROTK.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction

Chen G.

Apr 20, 8:28am

Post #4 of 18 (2078 views)
Oh, he was asked, alright [In reply to] Can't Post

But it was New Lineís initiative rather than Jacksonís. Then came Plummer and after that didnít work, Jackson proceeded with his own casting ideas for the wizard.


Apr 20, 1:37pm

Post #5 of 18 (2047 views)
Subject [In reply to] Can't Post

Plummer could have been quite good. McKellen was so brilliant it's often hard to conceive of other castings, but I think Plummer could have made an excellent, if very different, Gandalf.

Chen G.

Apr 20, 2:02pm

Post #6 of 18 (2038 views)
Most of the alternate Gandalfs would have been very good [In reply to] Can't Post

because they're all top-tier actors. Connery maybe is too much,er, Sean Connery to disappear into Gandalf, but the others? I mean, I mentioned Hawthorne, but Jackson also brought up the name of Richard Harris (whom New Line had some grudge against, so they vetoed him).

Other names for Gandalf were Tom Baker, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Neill, Bernard Hill and Peter O'Toole - all of whom could have been terrific. But, reportedly, McKellen was Jackson's top choice, so...


Apr 20, 2:12pm

Post #7 of 18 (2038 views)
I think to me [In reply to] Can't Post

 the more interesting casting might-have-beens aren't the roles that were well-cast (McKellen, Viggo, Lee, Cate, Bernard, Hugo etc) but rather the ones which were poorly cast (Elijah, John Noble etc). Who else was considered for Frodo and Denethor, or other roles where the actor didn't really match the character?

Chen G.

Apr 20, 2:27pm

Post #8 of 18 (2035 views)
Patrick McGoohan was the first choice for Denethor [In reply to] Can't Post

but when Jackson auditioned him, he proved "quite grumpy." I like the intensity that John Noble gives to the role (in fact, since my last rewatch I forgot just how intense he actually gets - its great), but McGoohan would have probably been the polar opposite and given something more quietly menacing.

Other choices for Denethor included Donald Sutherland and John Rhys-Davies. Some of the names I mentioned for Gandalf might have originally been considered for Denethor, especially O'Toole, and when Christopher Lee auditioned it was initially for Denethor, as well, although Jackson really wanted him for Saruman.

Obviously, all the older actors would have been applicable for any of the parts of the kings and wizards, so there's an overlap between those roles in terms of casting ideas. Heck, we got one of the early Gandalfs as Theoden in Bernard Hill, and Christopher Lee obviously wanted Gandalf, too.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 20, 2:33pm)


Apr 20, 2:41pm

Post #9 of 18 (2029 views)
Personally [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the problem with PJís Denethor is PJ, not John Noble.

Chen G.

Apr 20, 2:45pm

Post #10 of 18 (2027 views)
I don't have a problem with Denethor, per se [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think there was more room to show a more normal Denethor going gradually insane, but maybe that would have been too much to handle, especially within the context of The Return of the King. I do enjoy the sheer intensity of John Noble, though.

That's why I like Thorin so much. Whereas Denethor (not unlike the girls from Heavenly Creatures or Denham from King Kong) is too bonkers from the very beginning for his character to have much of a sense of a tragic fall, with Thorin we do get something much more gradual.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 20, 2:46pm)


Apr 20, 2:51pm

Post #11 of 18 (2022 views)
Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

While the script is certainly at fault with regard to Denethor, Noble's performance does nothing but enhance the effect: a petty small-town politician. He has nothing of the hauteur, perspicaciousness and awareness of power the not-a-king-but Steward has in the book, none of the "more wizard-like than a wizard."

For years my head-casting for the role was Peter Cushing; post-facto Charles Dance would have been close. Proud, cold, fiercely intelligent, contemptuous. Not brutishly sulky. OTOH Noble would have been great as the Master of Lake-Town.

(This post was edited by Solicitr on Apr 20, 2:52pm)


Apr 21, 12:54am

Post #12 of 18 (1982 views)
I disagree - I think Elijah and John R and John N were terrific in their roles. [In reply to] Can't Post


Greenwood Hobbit
Tol Eressea

Apr 21, 9:38am

Post #13 of 18 (1935 views)
I am sooo glad Sean Connery wasn't involved! [In reply to] Can't Post

Whatever the role, somehow he's always Sean Connery pretending to be somebody, not the somebody himself. I remember that at the end of 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' when he appeared as King Richard, the whole cinema burst out laughing!

Chen G.

Apr 21, 10:39am

Post #14 of 18 (1930 views)
Being that he wasn't Jackson's idea [In reply to] Can't Post

Sean Connery probably wouldn't have turned out, even if he didn't flat-out refuse the offer.


Apr 21, 12:37pm

Post #15 of 18 (1927 views)
Elijah Wood [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to give Solicitr the benefit of the doubt and speculate that his main objection to Wood was his age. Even taking into consideration the power of the Ring, Frodo--in the book--would not have appeared to be the youngest member of the company. And in Peter Jackson's conception, Frodo might actually be the physically youngest of the four hobbits, especially since Pippin seems to be significantly older than he was in the book.



Apr 21, 1:05pm

Post #16 of 18 (1921 views)
No, it's hair color [In reply to] Can't Post

Everyone knows Frodo has auburn hair, right?

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Apr 21, 1:47pm

Post #17 of 18 (1920 views)
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Elijah Wood is a talented actor, and was one of the best teen actors of his generation. I have no objections to his performance. He was simply too young, only 17 when he was cast. And the script did him no favors, reinforcing Frodo-as-naif, and denying him agency at every turn.

It's quite true, however one comes down on the question of hobbit aging, that Frodo at faux-33 was still older than the other three; and mentally he was 50: far more mature, educated and wise than the others.

Would anyone have countenanced casting a teenager as Aragorn, on the grounds that for a Dunadan 87 meant just out of high school?


May 7, 1:56pm

Post #18 of 18 (1306 views)
Burst out laughing? [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Whatever the role, somehow he's always Sean Connery pretending to be somebody, not the somebody himself. I remember that at the end of 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' when he appeared as King Richard, the whole cinema burst out laughing!

Hmmm ... interesting. My theater broke out cheering. I thought Connery was superb in "A Bridge Too Far". I wonder just how much his work in other films has been a result of the direction he's been given. Just a thought -- are you sure they weren't just laughing at "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" in general? While I enjoyed the movie (particularly for the Sherriff :D ), it was laughably bad in parts (mostly the parts involving Kevin Costner).

As far as John Noble's Denethor, I felt Denethor's character was by far the worst part of "Return of the King" although it wasn't Noble's thought. As was mentioned before, the script (and I suspect direction) went directly to Denethor being driven mad rather than the haughty grandeur corrupted by the images Sauron fed through the Palantir followed by despair that I gleaned from the books.

Somewhat similar to the enchantment and possession of Theoden in the movie as opposed to how Grima sickened and wheedled at him in the books. For some reason, the latter change didn't bother me as much as the former.


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