The first “Lord of the Rings” movie, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” was released in 2001 — about 22 years ago. Peter Jackson came out with two more sequels in 2002 and 2003 titled “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” respectively. The trilogy went on to win a total of 17 Academy Awards out of its 30 Academy Award nominations, and the rest is history.
Every character, member, and prop in the mega-hit series was equally important and iconic. But the one character that made the world fall head over heels in love with the movie was Viggo Mortenson’s Aragorn, Son of Arathorn and eventual King of Gondor. But did you know that Mortenson wasn’t always the number one option to play the iconic role? Peter Jackson had a very different vision for him.
Here are five actors who almost played the role of Aragorn from “Lord of the Rings.”
“Lord of the Rings” fans cannot even fathom the idea of someone other than Mortenson being Aragorn. However, we can understand the reason behind Peter Jackson’s initial vision of Daniel Day-Lewis for the role.
With three Oscars to his name, Day-Lewis, one of the most decorated actors in the industry, would undoubtedly play a good Aragorn. He also had some experience with playing fantasy-action roles before (Vis-à-vis “The Last of the Mohicans”). But his method-acting would have made things tough for him with the long schedules and the actor’s insistence on staying in the role.
Russel Crowe, another very decorated actor with one Academy Award under his name, was also on the list of possible choices for Aragorn. The “Gladiator” star had revealed in an interview on the “Howard Stern Show” in 2019 that New Line Cinema was really pushing him for the role, but he declined it because he could not feel the same enthusiasm from Jackson.
Stuart Townsend is the only actor on this list who was not only in the talks for playing Aragorn but was also hired for it. He states in an interview with “Entertainment Weekly” that he spent two months preparing for the role and had even spent time with the cast in New Zealand but was fired at the last minute. The reason? He claims that the Studio wasn’t fond of his youthful appearance, considering how Aragorn was older and hardened by war. Even Mortenson himself said in an interview with the Irish Times that replacing Townsend was very awkward for him.
As surprising as it sounds, Jackson had also wanted Nick Cage to play the role of Aragorn. But the filming of “LOTR” was going to take almost a year and Nick did not want to be away from his family for too long.
The last actor on our list is even more surprising than Nick Cage. Vin Diesel reportedly auditioned for the role but never got a callback. This worked in everyone’s favor because, in all honesty, Vin Diesel‘s persona as a gentle giant is more suited for the roles he’s famous for.
No matter the initial casting choices or changes for Aragorn, we’re grateful to have the character in the form we know today, but interesting trivia like this certainly gives a good taste of all the helming wizardry that goes on behind the scenes to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces.