As well as being a landmark achievement in filmmaking, Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings has a genuine claim to the title of Greatest Movie Trilogy Ever. Individually, each movie is brilliant in its own right but together they created a critically-acclaimed cultural phenomenon, and the series will no doubt be essential viewing for cinema fans for generations to come. In amongst the cutting edge-visual effects, pioneering motion capture work and stunning production design that became hallmarks of the series, one of the trilogy's strongest aspects is in its casting. Opting against including any A-list names, the production instead chose actors that could embody Tolkien's characters and grow into their roles over the course of three movies. The approach paid huge dividends as the likes of Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, Ian McKellen's Gandalf and Andy Serkis' Gollum became cultural icons in their own right, supported by great work from the rest of the sprawling ensemble. As you would expect from such a high-profile project, the casting process was a lengthy one that saw a countless number of actors both audition for, or be offered the chance to play, one of the trilogy's many characters. Everyone knows that Stuart Townsend was initially cast as Aragorn before being replaced at the last minute, and that Sean Connery reportedly turned down the role of Gandalf (and a share of the profits) because he "didn't understand the script", but who else missed out on the opportunity to journey to Middle-Earth?
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