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The Telegraph
October 19, 1999

Lord of the Rings Actor Sacked as Filming Starts
Paul Chapman

FILMING of the 90 million film trilogy based on J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings has suffered a setback after it was confirmed last night that the Irish actor Stuart Townsend had been sacked.

Claire Raskind, a publicist for the production company, said Townsend had been dismissed just days after the cameras started rolling in New Zealand. She said the producers were now negotiating with the actor Viggo Mortensen and "someone else" about taking over the role of Aragorn.

Miss Raskind would not comment on the reason for Townsend's departure except to say that there had been "creative differences". She denied that filming in the hills around Wellington last week was in disarray.

The dismissal was ordered by the director Peter Jackson, according to insiders on the set. They had been told there was a problem with "director-actor creative chemistry".

Townsend, 26, the star of the British comedy film Shooting Fish, was widely regarded as being too young for the part of Aragorn, who is revealed to be the rightful king of Middle Earth in Tolkien's classic. Mortensen is 41.