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Why Mick Jagger was rejected as Frodo for 'Lord of the Rings' in 1978


Mick Jagger’s acting career is a hard sell for some. Based on his roles in films like Performance and Ned Kelly, plus his highly unique voice and distinct physical attributes, most audiences simply have a hard time suspending their disbelief in imagining Jagger as anyone but the manic Rolling Stones frontman.

But even more fascinating than the parts he did take, are the movies that Jagger almost starred in. He was famously in the running for the role of Dr Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show before the creative team came to their collective senses and realised that they already had the perfect actor, Tim Curry, from the show’s West End run. During the initial production of Dune, Jagger was the first choice for Feyd-Rautha, a role that eventually went to fellow rock star Sting. He almost starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. But if any of those sound outrageous, just try to imagine Jagger as a hobbit.

During the production of Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Jagger expressed interest in portraying the central adventurer Frodo Baggins. Rock stars are known Tolkien admirers, and Jagger evidently was no different. Bakshi was already done with voice-over recording, but he brought Jagger out to his Hollywood studio to preview some of the work anyway. That turns out to be more of a hassle than it was worth.

“So I’m walking through the studio with Mick Jagger and the girls start to scream and faint,” Bakshi explained to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. “I had 2,200-3,000 people working on four floors, and the word spread to each floor that Jagger is walking around, and people got from one floor to the other through the staircase, and there was thunder like horsemen coming down, shaking the staircase.”

It was just a brief insight into what life working with one of the most famous men in rock and roll could have done to Bakshi’s everyday professional life. It was clear that Jagger was never going to get the gig.

“My son was there for the summer and he was terrified — he hid in the bathroom,” Bakshi recalled. “So that was just hysterical. [Jagger] wanted to do the voice of Frodo. I told him I would have used him easily but I was already recorded and everything.”

Imagining the wide-eyed Frodo being voiced by the hard-edged Jagger is more comical than anything else, but there’s no saying that Jagger would have been bad in the role. Perhaps if he had asked a little bit earlier, or hadn’t inadvertently caused such a scene at the studio, he could have landed the part. As it stands, it simply wasn’t meant to be.