10 things you might not know about Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Before the third and final movie in The Hobbit trilogy arrives in cinemas this Christmas, Geek Dave begins a series of trivia from Peter Jackson's earlier masterpieces, The Lord Of The Rings. Starting today with 2001's The Fellowship Of The Ring.

1. It's hard to imagine anyone other than Ian McKellen in the role of Gandalf the Grey, even Peter Jackson's struggled to do so. But New Line Cinema weren't feeling the McKellen vibe as they shot down Jackson's original casting suggestion of McKellen and spent considerable time courting Sean Connery for the part. He declined because he had never read J.R.R. Tolkien's novel and just "didn’t understand the script." In an attempt to persuade the Scot to reconsider, a second offer was put to him which included up to 15% of the film’s total box office receipts. He still said "no". If Connery had taken the part he would've earned around $400 million, which is more than any other actor has ever been paid for a single role ever.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis was also approached multiple times for a role in the Trilogy - that of Aragorn - but every time he turned it down. Peter Jackson then offered the role to Nicolas Cage! I'm not sure I can imagine that working, can you?

Fortunately, Cage turned it down due to "family commitments". Eventually Stuart Townsend was cast as Aragorn, but he was replaced by Viggo Mortensen four days in to the shoot. Jackson later stated it was because he realised that an older actor would work better.

3. It seems as if Viggo Mortensen was born to play the past of Aragorn. During pre-production he underwent extensive sword training with veteran sword master Bob Anderson. He later claimed that Mortensen was "the best swordsman I've ever trained". Mortensen went on to do all his own stunts in the film, and thanks to graduating 'sword academy' with flying colours he was allowed to use a real steel sword, rather than one made from aluminum and rubber like the rest of the cast used.

4. Orlando Bloom was offered the role of Legolas two days before graduating drama school. Like Mortensen, he also did his own stunts, which resulted in him breaking a rib.

5. Despite often filming oversees, and indeed travelling all the way to New Zealand for The Lord Of The Rings, Sean Bean has a fear of flying and so will only do so when absolutely necessary. So when the cast had to fly to remote shoot locations by helicopter, like the snowy mountains, Bean travelled part of the way via ski-lift and then spent two hours walking the remainder of the journey. All the time in full Boromir costume.

6. Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins) never actually filmed a scene together in person. As McKellen revealed:
"In 'Lord of the Rings' I never got to look Elijah Wood in the eyes. We were never in the same place to do that. I was always looking at the mask of his small-scale double and he was always looking at a big pole, seven foot two."
7. If you laid out all the chain mail which was made for The Fellowship Of The Ring and the two subsequent sequels, it would stretch more than 6 miles.

8. Hobbiton was actually built over a year before filming began. This was intentionally done to make it look like it was a natural, lived-in place, complete with real vegetable patches. The production even 'employed' sheep to maintain the grass.

9. When the Fellowship are on screen together they walk from the left of the screen to the right, never the other way around. This is not only done to give the appearance of their West to East journey, but because scientists have discovered that those of us who read left to right consider that particular direction of movement to be positive and movement to the left negative.

This is because, along with text, our eyes are used to observing a picture from left to right, and so physical movements in that direction seem natural, while movements from right to left seem inexplicably tense and uncomfortable. Subsequently the Orc's travel right to left to heighten the appearance of evil.

10. Eight of the nine members of the Fellowship got a small tattoo of the word "nine" spelled out in Tengwar, which is the original Elvish script created by Tolkien. This was done in a tattoo parlor in Wellington, New Zealand, to commemorate the experience of the movie. The only one who didn't take part was John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), although his stunt double took his place for the group bonding session. As for the rest, Elijah Wood's tattoo is on his lower stomach. Sean Astin (Sam) and Billy Boyd (Pippin) have the tattoo on their ankles (to commemorate all the hours they spent in their over-sized hobbit feet). Orlando Bloom has his on his forearm (visible during a fight scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), and Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean and Dominic Monaghan all had their tattoos done on a shoulder.

Read All Our Lord Of The Rings / The Hobbit Trivia Articles
The Actors Who Could've Been In The Lord Of The Rings
10 things you may not know about The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
10 things you may not know about The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
10 things you may not know about The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
10 things you may not know about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
10 things you may not know about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Samug
10 things you may not know about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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