Why Russell Crowe refused to play Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Before Gladiator, the studio wanted the Australian actor to play Aragorn. But he said no.

He could have played Aragorn before playing Maximus. Russell Crowe said no to Lord of the Rings. The Oscar-winning actor even met the director Peter Jackson to play the role in his film trilogy. But it was this meeting that dissuaded Crowe from saying “yes” and he explains why in an interview with GQ:

“I don't have any regrets at all. I really felt like it was the studio that made the decision to cast me, not the director.”

New Line Cinema

Russell Crowe continues and explains having had Peter Jackson on the phone, “and he wasn't saying the kinds of things that directors say to you when they really want to lure you into a project. I just had the impression that he already had someone else in mind. If I had ended up saying yes, it would have actually embarrassed him.”

The New Zealand actor specifies having heard things in his compatriot's voice: “We come from the same place..; So there's a nuance to that conversation that other people might not have heard. We're both New Zealanders. And in his own way without him saying anything negative, I understood that he had another plan, so I didn't go any further.”

Obviously, Peter Jackson ended up being cast Viggo Mortensen in the process, with the success that we know.


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