“One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
Ah, The Lord of The Rings. It’s that one film trilogy that we’ve all watched so many times we can’t even remember the precise number. It’s got everything: daring fights, fantastical races such as elves, dwarves and hobbits, an evil overlord trying to take back power, a small band of underdogs facing ridiculous odds, a wizard or two…
Directed by Peter Jackson and based on the incredible books by J. R. R. Tolkien, these films were set to be ground-breaking from the very start. And they were: over the space of three years, the trilogy won a grand total of seventeen Oscars altogether! (Wow)
We all know the story. We all love the characters. There are even those of us who can quote most of the films – even the Elvish bits! But I guarantee that there’s some things that you don’t know about how they were filmed, even if it is on the TV every other weekend…
1. Sir Christopher Lee wanted to play Gandalf
The late Sir Christopher Lee was well-known to have been a big fan of The Lord of the Rings book trilogy.
He loved Tolkien’s world
He actually read the books in their entirety once every year, without fail. Anyone who’s read the books will know that that’s a commitment.
Not only that, but he was the only member of the cast to have met J. R. R. Tolkien in person.
He wanted to play Gandalf, but Sir Ian McKellen was cast
As such a big fan, he was desperate to have a role in the films once he found out they were happening.
His heart was set on the role of Gandalf. But as we know, Sir Ian McKellen was pegged for that role from quite early on.
He was instead cast as the wizard, Saruman
Peter Jackson explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly how he and fellow screenplay writer and producer, Fran Walsh, had to break the news to Sir Christopher Lee:
“A very awkward 30 minutes followed, with Fran and I trying our best to explain to a rather peeved Christopher Lee that we were already talking to Ian McKellen about Gandalf — but what an incredible Saruman he would be!”