Search icon


18th Dec 2016

Lord of the Rings casting director reveals they wanted David Bowie to play Gandalf

That would have put a very different spin on the character

Rob Burnett

Once you’ve seen any of the Lord of the Rings films it’s impossible to think of Gandalf without picturing Sir Ian McKellen.

The Shakespearean actor made the role his own over the course of the series, but it could all have been very different if director Peter Jackson’s initial choice the play the character had taken up the wizard’s staff.

Casting director Amy Hubbard has revealed that Jackson originally wanted David Bowie to take the part, but says the Thin White Duke was too busy to even audition for the film.

She told the Huffington Post : “He was unavailable. It was a very quick conversation with the legendary Chris Andrews at CAA. I do believe that [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.”

She added: “We approached him. I’m pretty sure it was 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.”

Perhaps Jackson was hoping for a more Labyrinth feel to the trilogy…

Perhaps it’s best Bowie was too busy after all.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live: