Wait… Gandalf Was Going To Be WHO?! The ‘Lord of The Rings’ Movies We Almost Got

Just imagine if some of the most iconic characters in the Lord of the Rings franchise had been played by the actors that were originally selected. We would have had a very different lineup. To prove just how crazy these films would have been if the studio had gone with the original casting choices, let’s look at a few of them, starting with Gandalf.

 

1. Gandalf the Grey – Christopher Lee

Yes, that nearly happened. Christopher Lee originally auditioned to play the role of Gandalf, but was deemed “too old” by the studio, who cast Ian McKellen in the role and gave Lee the part of Saruman. Good call, filmmakers, good call.

Other actors who almost got the role

Sean Connery Sean Connery was approached about the role of Gandalf, but declined because he “didn’t understand the plot.” I bet now he wishes he’d done it anyway.

Patrick Stewart – Patrick Stewart was also approached for the role of Gandalf, but declined because he disliked the script.

2. Frodo Baggins – Jake Gyllenhaal

Just imagine Jake Gyllenhaal as Frodo. Things would certainly have taken a new direction if this had happened. However, Gyllenhaal was only one of 150 actors to try out for the role.

Other actors who almost got the role

Dominic Monaghan – You may recognize this name as belonging to the actor who ended up playing Frodo’s cousin, Merry. Monaghan originally auditioned for the role of Frodo, but the studio decided to cast him as Merry, a decision, which, in the long run, was a smart move.

3. Boromir – Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson was originally chosen for the role of Boromir, but after reading the script, he declined the role. He was replaced in the role by Sean Bean.

Other actors who almost got the role

Bruce Willis – Yes, Bruce Willis was almost in Lord of the Rings, guys. However, the studio had other ideas and offered the role to Neeson, who declined, causing them to cast Sean Bean as the character.

4. Faramir – Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom originally tried out for the role of Faramir, but was declined by the studio, who instead cast David Wenham. However, Bloom was still able to cash in on the franchise by portraying the character of Legolas Greenleaf in both the Lord of the Rings trilogy andThe Hobbit.

5. Elrond – David Bowie

Yes, Elrond being portrayed by the legendary David Bowie was very nearly a thing that happened. Unfortunately, Peter Jackson was not enthusiastic about the idea and so the role was given to Hugo Weaving, who subsequently reprised it in The Hobbit.

6. Bilbo Baggins – Sylvester McCoy

In a hole in the ground there lived a Time Lord… no, wait. Wrong story. The Seventh Doctor was actually considered to be Bilbo Baggins. In fact, McCoy was kept on standby as a potential Bilbo before Jackson ultimately cast Ian Holm, who reprised his role in a brief cameo duringThe Hobbit, in which McCoy portrayed Gandalf’s fellow wizard Radagast the Brown.

7. Aragorn – Stuart Townsend

Stuart Townsend was actually cast in the film, but was fired because Peter Jackson declared him “too young” for the role of Aragorn. His replacement, Viggo Mortensen, was chosen when one of the crew saw him in a play. Mortensen read The Fellowship of the Ring on the plane to LA for his audition and subsequently won the part, becoming a favorite with the crew by working on his own costume and carrying around his sword on set.

Other actors who almost got the role

Daniel Day-Lewis – Daniel Day-Lewis was initially contacted for the role, but declined. Following the subsequent rejections of four other actors, he was contacted again and declined a second time.

Nicolas Cage – Cage was offered the role after Day-Lewis’s initial refusal and expressed interest but was forced to withdraw due to “family obligations.”

Russell Crowe – Following Cage’s withdrawal, Crowe was offered the part, but declined because he thought the role would be too similar to his role in Gladiator.

Vin Diesel – Vin Diesel auditioned for the role after Crowe dropped out of the running, but the studio declined to cast him, instead offering Daniel Day-Lewis the role a second time, although he again declined.

 

Did I miss any important characters that we almost got to see played by someone else?