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HeySailor

The Roles that Got Away

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It's fairly common knowledge that Stuart Townsend was replaced by Viggo Mortensen in the role of Aragorn but I was a bit flabbergasted to learn today that the utterly-perfect-in-the-role-and-there-could-never-be-another Ian McKellen was not the name at the top of the Gandalf list. Sean Connery turned down the role.

According to The Scotsman, Connery turned down the largest paycheck in cinema history when he refused the offer. Reportedly, Peter Jackson said that New Line Cinema, the production company behind the trilogy, offered the Scottish actor between 10 and 15 per cent of worldwide box office takings to secure his participation. Which means he'd have earned about $372 million for putting on the long white beard and clasping the wizard's staff! The reason for his refusal? He did not understand the complicated plot of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece, "Yeah, well, I never understood it. I read the book, I read the script, I saw the movie. I still don't understand it. I would be interested in doing something that I don't fully understand, but not for eighteen months."
How did I miss out on this? It's water over the dam now but you have to admire him for realising that he wasn't a good fit and wouldn't do the film justice. And that 18 months of being confused would not be a good thing for anyone's mental health. Imagine how confusing it could have been on the set with THREE Seans.

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Total surprise to me that Sean C was offered the role and turned it down. Wise man, since he didn't seem to "get" what LOTR was all about. I can't imagine anyone other than the superb Ian McKellen playing Gandalf.

Barbara

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