Russell Crowe Reflects on Turning Down ‘Lord of the Rings’


Russell Crowe recently opened up about his decision to turn down a significant role in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a choice he does not regret. Despite the film series’ monumental success and lasting influence, Crowe felt that stepping aside was the right move.

Directed by Peter Jackson and based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novels, The Lord of the Rings starred an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, and many others. Crowe was approached to play Aragorn but ultimately declined.

In an interview, Crowe recounted his conversation with Jackson and his sense that the studio, rather than the director, was driving the decision-making process. “I don’t actually [regret it],” Crowe shared. “I very much felt the studio was making that decision, not the film director. And I talked to Peter Jackson over the phone, and he wasn’t saying the sort of things that directors were saying to you if they were trying to attract you to a project.”

Crowe sensed that Jackson had another actor in mind for the role. “We come from the same place,” Crowe explained, referring to their shared New Zealand heritage. “So there’s a nuance in that conversation that other people might not hear — we’re both New Zealanders — in his own way without him saying anything negative, that he had another plan. So I just left it at that.”

Jackson eventually cast Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, a decision that proved to be iconic.

Meanwhile, Jackson is set to produce a new Lord of the Rings film, The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, directed by Andy Serkis. The film is scheduled for a 2026 theatrical release, promising to expand the beloved franchise further.

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