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Russell Crowe Shares Why He Refused To Be In The Lord Of The Rings

Peter Jackson met with Russell Crowe to discuss casting the actor as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.


Even before Russell Crowe won an Oscar for Best Actor for Gladiator, he was an in-demand performer near the turn of the century. That's right around the time when director Peter Jackson was putting together the cast for his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Crowe has mentioned before that he spoke with Jackson about playing Aragorn, but now he's revisiting the memory to explain why he passed on what could have been a role of a lifetime.

While speaking with British GQ, Crowe insisted that he has no regrets about turning the part down. In fact, Crowe is convinced that Jackson never really wanted him at all.

"I very much felt the studio were making that decision, not the film director," said Crowe. "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. And 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."

When Crowe spoke about the same subject in 2019, he claimed that he heard subtleties in Jackson's voice that made him realize the director didn't want him.

"He's a fellow New Zealander; so I can hear his voice," recalled Crowe. "I'm talking to him on the phone. And it's like, I don't think he even knows what I've done."

Jackson cast Stuart Townsend as Aragorn, and had him filming on set for a brief period before dismissing him. Viggo Mortensen was brought in to replace Townsend, and he turned out to be a great choice for the role.

Crowe also recently spoke about his apprehension towards Gladiator 2, the upcoming sequel to his most iconic film. That movie will be out in theaters on November 22, but Crowe won't be in it because his character died in the first film.

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