David Bowie enjoyed an acting career as varied and nuanced as his costume changes. Having always been fascinated with acting as an art, Bowie pursued certain roles which intrigued him often looking for intricate characters. That said, in the latest edition of the Far Out Hollyweird section, it turns out that the was almost cast in one of the biggest films of all time; Lord of the Rings.
Having held down roles in projects such as The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Elephant Man as well as a bizarre turn in Zoolander, it turns out that Bowie was also in line to play Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell before being beaten out by Hugo Weaving. It appears his role as Jareth the Goblin King would work against him when pursuing the opportunity.
Speaking at New York Comic-Con Lord of the Rings writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh said that they were “quite keen” on the Thin White Duke as Elrond but, in what appears on reflection to be a major oversight, the studio pushed back on the idea.
“I don’t think the studio were that keen at that point so we never did meet with him,” Walsh said. “I remember that conversation,” Boyens said. “There was a little hesitancy there because Elrond and the Goblin King. I mean, you know, elves.”
While the collaboration seems too farfetched to believe, actor Dominic Monaghan—who player the role of hobbit Merry in the blockbuster fantasy trilogy—also confirmed Bowie’s interest and, remarkably, revealed that the iconic musician went ahead and auditioned. “I was at the Hubbard’s, which is a pretty notorious casting agency office in London, doing an audition for Lord of the Rings, and when it ended I went over and talked to John Hubbard, who was running the audition, and he said, ‘Hey, it went really well. You should wait around for five or 10 mins. We’ll give you some feedback’,” said Monaghan.
“I thought, ‘Oh, OK, cool, and I sat in the reception office. As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in. I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for. He may have read for something else, but I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and I’m lucky enough to know his son. Just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.”
At the time of the gossip, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson fuelled the speculation when he hinted at a Bowie introduction but offered a reasonable response for opting against the Starman: “These are famous, famous characters, loved for nearly 50 years,” he said. “To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable.”
While rumours have been around for a while about Bowie’s near journey to Middle Earth, it had always been assumed that he would be in for the role of Gandalf. We can imagine the kind of showmanship Bowie would’ve given Elrond, but sadly we’ll just have to keep on imagining.