The role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy propelled Viggo Mortensen to international fame, but he was neither Warner Bros. nor Peter Jackson's first choice. Several other actors, including Russell Crowe, were offered the role but turned it down for different reasons.
Now, Crowe has finally explained why he decided not to join the Fellowship of the Ring.
In an interview with Howard Stern, the Oscar-winning actor recalled a conversation he had with director Peter Jackson over the phone, explaining that, at the time, he was a popular choice for Hollywood films. While Warner Bros. wanted to offer Crowe the part, the actor stated, "I didn't think Peter Jackson wanted me on that film." He then went on to say, "I am talking to him on the phone, it is like, I don't think he even knows what I have done, [...] I just knew that my instinct was that he had somebody else in mind," adding, "which turned out to be Viggo, and he should be allowed to hire the actor who he wants."
If Crowe had appeared in the critically acclaimed epic trilogy, he would have earned roughly $100 million -- 10% of the trilogy's earnings -- as part of a backend deal. Stern asked Crowe whether there was any regret, and the actor replied, "never thought about it — only in situations like interviews where people are polite and kind enough to add s*** up for me."
The Lord of the Rings is an adaptation of the epic fantasy novels by J.R.R Tolkien. The trilogy, which began in 2001 with The Fellowship of the Ring, has collectively earned almost $3 billion from a budget of just $281 million. It remains one of the most successful film series ever made, and a TV series is currently in development.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)