I saw this today on Yahoo! Entertainment – Viggo Mortensen reveals which actor he replaced in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy: ‘I felt awkward’: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/viggo-mortensen-lord-of-the-rings-fellowship-of-the-ring-stuart-townsend-elijah-wood-191855896.html. Longer article.
Ethan Alter and Kevin Polowy December 17, 2021
It’s hard to imagine any other actor than Viggo Mortensen playing Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy. But, in fact, another actor was cast in the crucial role of Middle Earth’s returning king when production started on the first Rings installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, which premiered in theaters twenty years ago on Dec. 19, 2001. Not long after shooting began, Jackson made the difficult call to replace his original Aragorn with Mortensen — an awkward situation for everyone involved.
“I felt unprepared,” Mortensen tells Yahoo Entertainment now about stepping into the role. “The other actors had been there for weeks and months in some cases preparing for the arduous task of shooting the whole trilogy. I also felt awkward, because I’d never been in a position of replacing another actor.” (Watch our video interview above.)
Jackson’s first choice for the part was Irish actor Stuart Townsend, who was 27 years old when he arrived in New Zealand to shoot Lord of the Rings in 1999. And, according to Mortensen, his age was the reason why Jackson realized he’d made in error in judgement. “I understood from the filmmakers that Stuart Townsend — who is a great actor, and was really perfect for the part — was too young, because he was the same age as the actors playing the Hobbits,” Mortensen explains. “They just needed someone who was a little bit older. It was just a bad luck situation.”