Hugh: 20 Facts About the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Just in time for a winter movie marathon, Mental Floss has compiled a list of 20 epic facts you might not know about The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here are 10 of them (See full list here):

  1. It went through a bunch of script revisions. When The Lord of the Rings started out, it was originally going to be two movies. Concerned about the ballooning budget, producers tried to persuade Jackson to condense the movie into a single film.
  2. Sean Connery didn’t understand the script. Sean Connery read for the role of Gandalf but admitted that, “I never understood it.”
  3. Aragorn was difficult role to cast. Nicolas Cage was offered the role, but turned it down due to “family obligations.” The role then went to up-and-coming Irish actor Stuart Townsend, before going to Viggo Mortensen.
  4. Russell Crowe was a potential backup for Aragorn. Had Mortensen turned the role down, Peter Jackson had Jason Patric and Russell Crowe in mind.
  5. Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned to play Frodo. “I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent,” Gyllenhaal once recalled. “I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, ‘You know that you have to do this in a British accent?’”
  6. Vin Diesel, Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman were up for roles. Diesel auditioned for Aragorn, Neeson passed on the role of Boromir, and there were “discussions” about then-married couple Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman playing Faramir and Éowyn.
  7. Ian Holm played Frodo Baggins years earlier. Holm, who played Bilbo in the trilogy, played Frodo in a 1981 radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings on BBC Radio 4.
  8. Christopher Lee wanted to play Gandalf. The late actor was a super fan, but was “too old” for the action-heavy role ultimately played by Sir Ian McKellen.
  9. Flight of the Conchord’s Bret McKenzie made a cameo. McKenzie makes a brief appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring, playing an unnamed Elf during the Council of Elrond scene.
  10. Bill the pony was two people in a horse costume. Samwise Gamgee’s pony Bill was a pony suit with one person in the front half and one person in the back during the Midgewater Marshes scenes.

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