A friend of mine tells me that the extended version of one of the LOTR DVDs reveals that Peter Jackson had originally cast someone else as Aragon before he tapped Viggo for the role, but declined to reveal exactly who it was; he only said that the actor was too young for the part. Does anyone know who he was talking about?
It was Stuart Townsend.
The actor originally cast to play Aragorn was Stuart Townsend, whose film credits include Lestat in Queen of the Damned and Dorian Gray in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I was disappointed with how the LOTR DVD extras hardly mentioned him at all; it would have been cool to see some of the original footage with him in the role.
Oh, and he’s not related to the Who guitarist Pete Townsend – even though his father’s name is Peter.
The Who guitarist spells his name Townshend anyway.
Was any footage of Stuart Townsend as Aragorn shot? I personally would have no interest in seeing it. He was all wrong for the part.
There was very little film shot, it would appear, because the change was made right after they started filming. In fact, other articles I’ve read suggested they’d delayed filming Aragorn material as long as they could, hoping Townsend would improve - but he didn’t. I get the impression it wasn’t only youth that was an issue, it was his ability to inhabit the role authoritatively - physical presence - and his inclination/ability to pick up the fighting aspects of the role. There were rumors that PJ didn’t think he was working hard enough.
Don’t feel too sorry for Townsend, though. If you watched the Academy Awards this year you might have seen him on the arm of Best Actress winner Charlize Theron. Lucky bastard.
He’s rather slight. More suited to be an elf than the “rugged” Aragorn that was Viggo. I was surprised when I first heard Townsend had been cast.
Viggo as Viggo never struck me as being particularly rugged, but being older does have its pluses. Stuart was 23 when he would have played Aragorn. That would make him not much older than Orlando Bloom and younger than Pippin (Billy Boyd)!
I’d heard various things about this as well, including a story quoting Stuart Townsend as saying his experience in New Zealand was most unpleasant.
See: ShowBiz Ireland - Stuart Townsend bitter over lost Aragorn Lord of the Rings role. Sorry, I am not savvy enough to do links.
More recently (last April), in Entertainment Weekly, he was more gracious:
According to this Stuart Townsend was born in 1972. I’ll confess to not knowing exactly when filming started, but he would’ve been older than 23, I believe (Billy Boyd who was born in 1968; Bloom in 1977). I’d read the EW article as well, and thought the “20 years older” was a bit of a stretch when Mortenson was born in 1958.
I read something somewhere that PJ’s first choice (but completely unrealistic choice given budget and filming constraints) was Daniel Day Lewis. I see a lot of Daniel Day Lewis’ Last of the Mohecians performance in Aragorn.
Must’ve been nice watchng LOTR raking in all the awards.
Watching LOTR and his girlfriend raking in all the awards.
But think of the comfort sex…