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Why Sam Neill’s Lord Of The Rings Role Never Happened

The nagging question is who Sam Neill was in line to play in Peter Jackson’s movies. In most cases, the background behind those iconic films is fairly transparent. For instance, we have a thorough explanation of Viggo Mortensen replacing Stuart Townsend due to age issues.

In the curious case of Sam Neill’s casting, though, we don’t know who he was supposed to play. When asked, the actor simply stated that he didn’t want to answer, adding, “No, I couldn’t say that, because that would make the person who played it feel like I was a prick.”

All we know is that it was a good role — i.e., he probably wasn’t in line to make a quick cameo as a Hobbiton Hobbit or a Gondorian soldier. The actor was in his early 50s when “The Fellowship of the Ring” came out — which puts him between Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen’s age. Could he have been in line to play the gray-bearded Wizard? Was he a good fit for the venerable human king in exile? He could have played a smorgasbord of similar characters, such as Boromir (Sean Bean), King Théoden (Bernard Hill), or Denethor (John Noble). Heck, Neill could have even pulled off a somber Elrond in the same vein as Hugo Weaving. With so many middle-aged male characters to choose from, it’s likely we’ll never know what role the “Jurassic Park” actor was in line to play unless he chooses to spill the beans himself at some point.

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