Russell Crowe Turned Down Aragorn in ‘Lord of the Rings’ After Iffy Peter Jackson Meeting: ‘I Felt the Studio Was Making That Decision, Not the Film Director’

Russell Crowe has no regrets when it comes to “The Lord of the Rings.” The Oscar-winning actor met director Peter Jackson to play the role of Aragorn in his film trilogy, but their conversation apparently turned off Crowe from wanting to move forward with the movies. Jackson’s “Rings” trilogy would go on to gross $2.9 billion worldwide and remains one of the most acclaimed film trilogies ever made. Still, Crowe knows it was the right call to let it pass.

“I don’t actually,” Crowe said during a British GQ video interview when asked if he has any “Rings” regrets. “I very much felt the studio were making that decision, not the film director. And I talked to Peter Jackson over the phone, and he wasn’t saying the sort of things that directors were saying to you if they were really trying to attract you to a project. And I just kind of got a sense that he already had somebody else in mind that he wanted to do. And me stepping forward and saying yes was actually going to get in his way.”

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“We come from the same place,” Crowe added. “So there’s a nuance in that conversation that other people might not hear — we’re both New Zealanders — in his own way without him saying anything negative, that he had another plan. So I just left it at that.”

Jackson ended up casting Viggo Mortensen in the iconic role. The director is now returning to Middle-earth as the producer of a new “Lord of the Rings” movie that is going to be directed by Gollum actor Andy Serkis. The movie, “The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum,” is being eyed for a 2026 theatrical release. Would Mortensen return as Aragorn? He doesn’t seem opposed, but the story would have to make sense.

“I don’t know exactly what the story is, I haven’t heard,” Mortensen recently told British GQ. “Maybe I’ll hear about it eventually. I like playing that character. I learned a lot playing the character. I enjoyed it a lot. I would only do it if I was right for it in terms of, you know, the age I am now and so forth. I would only do it if I was right for the character. It would be silly to do it otherwise.”

Watch Crowe’s full video interview with British GQ in the video below.

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