Peter Jackson could have made the Lord of the Rings trilogy a very different theatrical experience had he gone with his original casting ideas. However, due to a variety of reasons, this potential cast never came to be. Some turned the role down, others were unable to accept due to scheduling conflicts, and a few auditioned for the part but didn’t make the cut. Below you will find The Lord of the Rings Cast that never was.
Actually played by: Elijah Wood
Almost Was: Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal was one of 150 people that auditioned for the role of Frodo Baggins. However, Elijah Wood got the part after he sent in an audition tape dressed as Frodo reading lines from the book.
Almost Was: Dominic Monaghan
Dominic Monaghan, who plays Merry in film, originally auditioned for the role of Frodo as well.
Actually played by: Viggo Mortensen
Almost Was: Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe was one of Peter Jackson’s first choices for the role of Aragorn. However, he declined the role due to scheduling conflicts.
Almost Was: Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis was also one of Peter Jackson’s first choices for Aragorn. He turned the role down.
Almost Was: Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage turned down the part due to family obligations.
Almost Was: Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel auditioned for the role of Aragorn but didn’t get the part.
Actually played by: Sir Ian McKellen
Almost Was: Sean Connery
Sean Connery was approached for the role of Gandalf but he turned it down because he said he didn’t understand the plot.
Almost Was: Sir Patrick Stewart
Peter Jackson approached Sir Patrick Stewart for the role of Gandalf. He said he would prefer to play a different role (he won’t say which one), wasn’t particularly fond of the script, and ultimately turned it down.
Almost Was: Sam Neill
Sam Neill was also considered for the role of Gandalf but didn’t get the part.
Actually played by: Sean Bean
Almost Was: Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis expressed an interest in the role of Boromir but it never came to be.
Almost Was: Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson was also sent a copy of the script but decided to pass.
Actually played by: Hugo Weaving
Almost Was: David Bowie
David Bowie expressed interest in the role, but Jackson stated, “To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable.”