Cast & Crew
August 13, 1999
Aragorn Named for Lord
of the Rings
Star Wars diehards have been hotly
debating the casting of the next Anakin, for what, the last year? Kids' stuff. Lord of
the Rings fans have only been trying to decide the perfect cast for the last 20 years
The debate may not end here, but another
decision has been made: The Hollywood Reporter claims the plum role of Aragorn has
been given to 26-year-old Irish actor Stuart Townsend.
Aragorn, AKA Strider, is the wandering
ranger and king-in-waiting who assists the hobbit Frodo Baggins in his quest to destroy
the all-powerful ring forged by the Dark Lord Sauron. J.R.R. Tolkien described Aragorn as
a dark-haired and "weather-beaten" fellow with a "pale stern face and a
pair of keen grey eyes." The casting challenge is obvious: As the story opens,
Aragorn, heir to the fading royal house of a particularly long-lived race of men, is 85.
Frankly, we always saw an Irishman in the
part, but probably one a wee bit longer in the tooth, like Gabriel Byrne. British actor
Daniel Day-Lewis reportedly turned down the role, which will require 18 months of
continuous shooting in New Zealand the three movies in New Line's planned trilogy
are being filmed back-to-back
Slowly, but surely, the impossible-to-cast
fantasy film is matching actors to parts, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Iam Holm as
Bilbo, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Sean Astin as his faithful servant Sam. With the bulk of
the budget, most likely going to special effects and that lengthy shooting schedule, more
"name" actors seem unlikely.
Kate Winslet's name was floated to play
Eowyn, a warrior woman (and the niece of a king) who falls in love with Aragorn. New Line
exec Michael De Luca told TheOneRing.net that Winslet had passed on the project.
Although Townsend's not well known
Stateside, those fortunate enough to have seen him in British films have known for a few
years that he was someone to watch. In 1997's Resurrection Man, he mesmerizingly
played a vicious real-life gang leader, while the same year he did an about-face as a shy
conman-hacker in Shooting Fish, with Kate Beckinsale. In 1997, he also had a small
role as one of Samantha Morton's lovers in Under the Skin.
Take our word for it: Townsend, who's
dating indie actress Parker Posey, is the next Ewan McGregor.
Townsend appears next in Wonderland
for director Michael Winterbottom; the fantasy epic Simon Magus, with fellow Rings
man, Holm, Rutger Hauer, and Embeth Davidtz; and the comedy All About Adam with