Russell Crowe reveals why he turned down Aragorn role in Lord of the Rings

Virgin Radio

15 Jun 2024, 15:38

Credit: Getty/New Line Cinema

Russell Crowe shares the real reason behind passing on one of the most iconic roles in cinema after meeting with director Peter Jackson.

Russell Crowe, the gladiatorial Oscar-winner, recently opened up about his decision to turn down the role of Aragorn in the legendary Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In a candid chat during a video interview with British GQ, Crowe revealed that his meeting with director Peter Jackson wasn’t quite the epic quest he hoped for, leading him to walk away from the opportunity of a lifetime.



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The Lord of the Rings trilogy, helmed by Jackson, grossed a staggering $2.9 billion worldwide and became one of the most celebrated film series ever.

Despite this, Crowe stands by his decision. When asked if he regretted not donning Aragorn’s rugged gear, Crowe said: “I don’t actually.”

Crowe’s reluctance wasn’t due to the Shire’s cuisine or the arduous trek to Mordor, but rather the vibe he got from his conversation with Jackson.

“I very much felt the studio were making that decision, not the film director,” Crowe explained. “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 really trying to attract you to a project.”

It seems the Fellowship wasn’t quite united in Jackson’s mind.

“I just kind of got a sense that he already had somebody else in mind that he wanted to do. And me stepping forward and saying yes was actually going to get in his way,” Crowe added. One might say the One Ring wasn’t calling out to him after all.

Crowe, like Jackson, hails from New Zealand, and he picked up on a subtle nuance during their chat.

“We come from the same place,” Crowe noted. “In his own way without him saying anything negative, that he had another plan. So I just left it at that.”

And who was the hero to wield the legendary sword Andúril? None other than Viggo Mortensen, who became synonymous with the role of Aragorn.

Jackson’s choice paid off in spades, with Mortensen delivering a performance for the ages.

Fast forward to the present, and Jackson is once again gearing up for an adventure in Middle-earth, this time as a producer.

The upcoming project, The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, will be directed by none other than Gollum actor Andy Serkis and is set for a 2026 release.

Will Mortensen reprise his role as the Ranger from the North? He’s not ruling it out.

“I don’t know exactly what the story is, I haven’t heard,” Mortensen told British GQ. “Maybe I’ll hear about it eventually. I like playing that character.

"I learned a lot playing the character. I enjoyed it a lot. I would only do it if I was right for it in terms of, you know, the age I am now and so forth. I would only do it if I was right for the character. It would be silly to do it otherwise.”

So, while Crowe may have dodged a trip to Middle-earth, he’s got no regrets. His career has been a journey of epic proportions in its own right, filled with unforgettable roles. And who knows? Maybe there’s still a place for Crowe in some corner of Tolkien’s world—or perhaps, like Aragorn, he’s destined for a different kind of adventure altogether.