What Could Have Been #5 | Lord Of The Rings

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What Could Have Been #5 | Lord Of The Rings

As a fan of film, I love exploring behind the scenes. Reading about the production process, the special effects and the stories of what could have been.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings (2001)

Viggo Mortensen wasn’t always going to play Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In fact he was bought in at the very last minute. So why was this then? Well an actor called Stuart Townsend was originally cast but unfortunately was replaced just a day before principle photography began back in 1999.

The following quote was taken from an interview back in 2002 which was not long after the film had been released. According to Townsend,

“I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began. After that I was told they wouldn’t pay me because I was in breach of contract due to not having worked long enough. I had been having a rough time with them, so I was almost relieved to be leaving until they told me I wouldn’t be paid. I have no good feelings for those people in charge, I really don’t. The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different.”

Stuart doesn’t seem to get much luck. He was going to play one of Thor’s friends but left the project due to “creative differences”. Above is the only known picture (allegedly) of Stuart as Aragorn alongside Viggo Mortensen who went on to make the role his own.

It could have been even weirder. Russell Crowe turned down the role of Aragorn because it was too similar to Gladiator.

Or how about Nicolas Cage! He refused the offer because he didn’t want to be away from his family living in New Zealand for the long production process (principal photography lasted 274 days!).


What Could Have Been… is a series first created by John (@UKFilmNerd) on the original version of theunheardnerd.com. We will be re-running the series in a weekly format, but if you can’t wait for the next instalment you can check it out now. [What Could Have Been… #1-12]

John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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