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David Bowie Was Considered for Gandalf in ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy

Peter Kramer, Getty Images
Peter Kramer, Getty Images

In the aftermath of his death, it was reported that David Bowie had auditioned for a role in the Lord of the Rings films. Now we learn that Bowie was considered and approached for the part of Gandalf, but never actually read for it because of his schedule.

The Huffington Post yesterday spoke with Amy Hubbard, who was the casting director for the trilogy, and asked for the truth about Bowie. “He was unavailable,” she said. “It was a very quick conversation with the legendary Chris Andrews at CAA. I do believe that [David Bowie] went over and played for everybody at the Millennium party. That would’ve been New Year’s Eve in the year 1999, which was when the films were being shot. He went over and entertained everybody, but he never auditioned. That’s for sure.”

Back in January, Dominic Monaghan, who played Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, claimed that he saw Bowie at the London casting agency while he was auditioning, adding that he assumed Bowie was trying out for Gandalf, although the singer was also rumored to be up for the role of Elrond. But while Hubbard confirmed that he was up for Gandalf, she insisted that it never got beyond that phone call, and the part eventually went to Sir Ian McKellen.

“We approached him. I’m pretty sure it was [producer/director] Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris, and [Bowie] was far too busy.”

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Next: A Look Back at David Bowie's Acting Career

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