The Dominion
October 20, 1999

Film Team Confirms Dumping
Alan Simpson

The Lord of the Rings team confirmed yesterday it was negotiating with actor Viggo Mortensen as a possible replacement for Stuart Townsend, who was dumped from one of the main roles. But publicist Claire Raskind said that "someone else" was also being spoken to and that a decision was yet to be made.

Townsend, down to play Aragorn, the rightful king of the men of Middle-earth, had been in New Zealand "about two months", training and rehearsing for the role. Ms Raskind would not comment on the reason for his departure last week, except to say there had been "creative differences".

"It happens all the time in films," she said.

Reports that filming of the Rings saga, which began in Wellington last week, was in disarry were mistaken, Ms Raskind said. "[Townsend] was scheduled to be involved in filming the end of last week or the beginning of this week. There was no film in the can... we just reshuffled scheduling."

Even last week's rain had had no effect on filming: "We just moved inside," she said.

Far from there being poor morale, the production and acting crew of about 400 had been buoyed by the arrival of actress Liv Tyler who plays the elf princess Arwen Undomiel. She joins Elijah Wood, who stars as quest leader Frodo, and has already been spotted around town.

Mortensen has credits in several movies, including Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady, Witness and Crimson Tide. In his latest film, A Walk on the Moon, he stars with Anna Paquin.