"Lord of the Rings" almost had a little more Ziggy Stardust. Casting director Amy Hubbard confirmed to Huffington Post that music legend David Bowie was considered for the role of Gandalf, though he ultimately turned it down for one simple reason: he didn't have enough time.
“He was unavailable,” Hubbard explained. “It was a very quick conversation with the legendary Chris Andrews at CAA. I do believe that [David Bowie] went over and played for everybody at the Millennium party. That would’ve been New Year’s Eve in the year 1999, which was when the films were being shot. He went over and entertained everybody, but he never auditioned. That’s for sure.”
“We approached him," she added. "I’m pretty sure it was Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris, and [Bowie] was far too busy.”
Though he was approached for the role, Bowie never had a formal audition. As we now know, though, director Peter Jackson gave it the old college try. Of course, the role ultimately went to "X-Men" star Ian McKellan, and his portrayal of the character has since become iconic, so it seems to have worked out for Jackson, Hubbard and crew in the end.
In January, Dominic Monaghan -- who played Merry in the legendary fantasy trilogy -- revealed that Bowie had been considered, though he didn't have too much information about it outside of his own anecdote. “As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” he said at the time. “And I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for. He may have read for something else, but I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and I was lucky enough to know his son now so just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.”
David Bowie -- a pioneering rock idol whose influence extended well beyond music, into film, fashion and art -- passed away in January, just two days after his 69th birthday. The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which spanned from 2001 to 2003, is available for purchase in Blu-ray, DVD and digital.