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Featured cast: The Lord of the Rings

Updated 12/22/02
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Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)
American, 21; 35 IMDB credits
Breakout role: Probably Radio Flyer (age 11), but emerged as a serious actor in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm.
Other films: Internal Affairs, Avalon, Radio Flyer, Forever Young, The Adventures of Huck Finn, The Good Son (review), North, The War, Flipper, The Ice Storm, Oliver Twist, Deep Impact, The Faculty, Black and White, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, Chain of Fools
Coming soon: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Thumbsucker, Ash Wednesday, Try Seventeen (the latter with former girlfriend Franka Potente and singer Mandy Moore)
Did you know? Appeared in Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" video as the "executive" kid snapping a handful of pencils...under the direction of David Fincher (!); his first role was as "Video Game Boy" in Back to the Future II.

(Sir) Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey/Gandalf the White)
British; 63; 68 IMDB credits
Breakout role: As Richard III in the film of the same name, which he (screen)wrote
Memorable roles: Magneto in X-Men, director James Whale (his first Oscar nomination) in Gods and Monsters, aforementioned Richard III; "Maggie Smith" in a particularly infamous Saturday Night Live skit ("Kiss for luck, little Jimmy Fallon?")...
Other films: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Plenty, Windmills of the Gods, Scandal, Tales of the City, Last Action Hero (!), The Ballad of Little Jo, And the Band Played On, Six Degrees of Separation, I'll Do Anything, The Shadow, Cold Comfort Farm, Jack and Sarah (review), Restoration, Rasputin, Bent, Swept from the Sea, Apt Pupil, David Copperfield,
Coming soon: X-Men 2, Emile
Did you know?: Overlooked in the hoohah over Denzel Washington and Halle Berry's historic 2002 Oscar wins was this factoid: Had McKellen won Best Supporting Actor (as Gandalf), he would have been the first openly gay actor to win an Oscar. He lost, however, in a surprise upset to fellow Brit Jim Broadbent, for Iris.

Viggo Mortensen (Strider/Aragorn)
American but half-Danish, 44; 47 IMDB credits
Breakout role: This one; in interviews he jokes that half his roles were supposed to be his "big break"
Memorable roles: The Indian Runner, Carlito's Way, Crimson Tide, The  Prophecy, Portrait of a Lady, G.I. Jane, A Perfect Murder, A Walk on the Moon
Other films: 28 Days (review), Psycho, Daylight, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Young Guns II, Ruby Cairo, American Yakuza; "Worthless Junkie" in Black Velvet Pantsuit; was in Swing Shift and Purple Rose of Cairo, but his scenes were deleted
Coming soon: Hidalgo; was rumored to be in Borgia and The Alamo, but Ewan McGregor and Jason Patric wound up in those roles
Did you know?: Mortensen has a thriving second career as a poet, painter, and photographer... In a magazine interview, he joked that he had decided the name of his Portrait of a Lady character, "Caspar Goodwood," meant "Ghost of a Hard-On."

Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee)
American, 31; 33 IMDB credits
Breakout role: Mikey in The Goonies
Memorable roles: Rudy! Also Rascal in Memphis Belle, Patella in Courage Under Fire
Other films: "Please Don't Hit Me, Mom," for TV, his first role (age 10), Like Father Like Son, The War of the Roses, Toy Soldiers, Encino Man, Where the Day Takes You, Safe Passage, Harrison Bergeron, Bulworth, Deterrence, Icebreaker,
Coming soon: The Riding of the Laddie with Christopher Lee; the IMDB says he plays (a) "Preacher"
Did you know?: Astin's daughter Alexandra will play Sam's daughter Elanor in the final LOTR film, Return of the King (see our Return of the King preview page)

Billy Boyd (Pippin [Peregrin] Took)
Scottish, 34; 12 IMDB credits
Breakout role: This one
Other films: The Soldier's Leap, Urban Ghost Story, Coming Soon, Julie and the Cadillacs
Coming soon: Master and Commander (aka The Far Side of the World) with Russell Crowe and Peter Weir
Did you know? Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are writing a script together.

Dominic Monaghan (Merry [Meriadoc] Brandybuck)
German-born, 26; 12 IMDB credits
Breakout role: This one
Other films/TV work: "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates," Hostile Waters, Monsignor Renard, "This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper"
Coming soon: An Insomniac's Nightmare (as "Jack the Insomniac")
Did you know? Monaghan and Billy Boyd became interested in environmental conservationism after their Treebeard storyline in Two Towers.

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli, voice of Treebeard)
English, 58; 105 film and 34 TV appearances at IMDB (dude, he was on "SpongeBob SquarePants"?)
Perhaps best known as: Sallah from the Indiana Jones movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but not Temple of Doom, thereby illustrating yet again why that was the weak link in the trilogy)
Other films: I, Claudius; Shogun, Victor/Victoria, Ivanhoe, Sahara, King Solomon's Mines, The Living Daylights, Noble House, War and Remembrance, Goddess of Love (with Vanna White!), Great Expectations (miniseries), Stargate (uncredited "Shouting Arab Digger"), "Sliders," Catherine the Great, The Great White Hype, the animated Cats Don't Dance (no, really), Dune 2000, Scorcher, Sabretooth, Endangered Species
Coming Soon: Highbinders, Coronado, La Femme Musketeer (the movie where he was nearly crushed by a falling wall and was still recovering even as he did Two Towers press junkets)
Did you know? Rhys-Davies was horribly allergic to his Gimli prosthetic makeups.

Orlando Bloom (Legolas Greenleaf)
English, 25; 14 IMDB credits
Breakout role: This one
Other films: Wilde (as "Rentboy"), Black Hawk Down
Coming soon: The Kelly Gang, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Calcium Kid, Troy
Did you know? Supposedly, Bloom auditioned for the roles of both Frodo and Faramir.

(Sir) Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins)
British, 72; 103 IMDB credits
Breakout role: His current career renaissance has probably been in part to his role as the troubled lawyer in The Sweet Hereafter.
Memorable films: From Hell, Joe Gould's Secret, King Lear (TV), The Madness of King George, Chariots of Fire, Brazil, Time Bandits, Alien, Branagh's Henry V and Gibson's Hamlet, and tons more. Literally.
No, really, he was in these, too: A Life Less Ordinary, The Advocate, The Fifth Element, Big Night, Night Falls on Manhattan, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, eXistenZ, Bless the Child, The Miracle Maker (TV), Simon Magus, Alice Through the Looking Glass (with Kate Beckinsale as Alice--I know!), Naked Lunch, The Borrowers and Return of the Borrowers
Coming soon: The Emperor's New Clothes, just now hitting the U.S.
Did you know? Originally voiced Frodo in the BBC radio adaptation of LOTR.

Christopher Lee (Saruman the White)
English, 80; 252 film credits (not even including TV) on the IMDB--he’s literally in the record books for his expansive international career.
Classic roles (deep breath): Dracula in dozens of movies, particularly the Hammer flicks of the ’50s and ’60s; Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu, Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, Scaramanga in the Bond flick The Man with the Golden Gun, the Burgomaster in Sleepy Hollow (1999), Flay in Gormenghast, Count Dooku in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But he says he prefers to be known not so much for the Dracula roles as his more recent ones.
Not-so-classic roles: “Evil Sender” in The Stupids (1996); Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); “Dr. Catheter” (!) in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990); Too Hot to Handle (aka “Playgirl After Dark”, 1959). No, really.
Coming Soon: The Riding of the Laddie, The Last Unicorn (in which he will reprise the character he voiced in the animated film)
Did you know? Lee will be reteaming with LOTR castmate Sean Astin and original Wicker Man director Robin Hardy for an “unofficial” Wicker Man non-sequel, The Riding of the Laddie… As of this writing, Yahoo lists the current top-selling Christopher Lee video/DVD as the animated film The Last Unicorn…which, the IMDB reports, is apparently being made into a live-action film starring Lee as the character he voiced in both the English and German animated versions.

Bernard Hill (Théoden)
English, 58; 64 IMDB credits
Perhaps best known as: doomed Captain Smith in Titanic
Other films: I Claudius, Gandhi, The Bounty, Runners, The Chain, No Surrender, Drowning by Numbers, Shirley Valentine, Mountains of the Moon, Shepherd on the Rock, Madagascar Skin, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Mill on the Floss, True Crime, Great Expectations (TV 1999), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Loss of Sexual Innocence, The Scorpion King
Coming soon: The Great Ceili War
Did you know? Hill nearly turned down the part because, in early drafts, "there was nothing there."

Miranda Otto (Éowyn)
Australian, 35; 26 IMDB credits
Breakout role: Love Serenade
Other films: Emma's War, The Girl Who Came Late, The Last Days of Chez Nous, The Nostradamus Kid, The Well, True Love and Chaos, Doing Time for Patsy Cline, Dead Letter Office, In the Winter Dark, The Thin Red LIne, The Jack Bull, Kin, What Lies Beneath, Human Nature, The Three-Legged Fox, Julie Walking Home, Doctor Sleep
Coming soon: Danny Deckchair
Did you know? An early candidate to play Éowyn? Uma Thurman.

Karl Urban (Éomer)
New Zealander, 30; 12 IMDB credits
Breakout role: This one, although appearing in Harry Sinclair's (Isildur) film The Price of Milk brought him to Peter Jackson's attention
Other films: "Homeward Bound" (TV series), Chunuk Bair, "Shortland Street" (TV series), Heaven (1998, not to be confused with Cate Blanchett film of same name), Via Satellite, Amazon High, The Irrefutable Truth About Demons, "The Privateers" (TV series), Ghost Ship
Did you know? Urban appeared as multiple characters on "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Caesar, Kor, Cupid, Mael) and "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (Caesar, Cupid).

Brad Dourif (Gríma Wormtongue)
American, 52; 82 IMDB credits
Perhaps best known as: The voice of Chucky, the murderous doll of the Child's Play movies
Breakout role: Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, for which he was nominated for an Oscar
Memorable roles: Heaven's Gate,  Dune, Blue Velvet, Mississippi Burning, Murder in the First, the "Beyond the Sea" episode of the X-Files
Other films: Eyes of Laura Mars, Wise Blood, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, Ragtime,The Exorcist 3, Hidden Agenda, Sonny Boy, Graveyard Shift, Grim Prairie Tales, Jungle Fever, Body Parts, London Kills Me, Critters 4, Amos and Andrew, Trauma, Color of Night, A Worn Path, Urban Legend (uncredited gas station attendant), Progeny, Prophecy 3, Soulkeeper
Coming soon: Vlad, El Padrino
Did you know? According to Fangoria, Dourif wasn't even the first person cast in the role, although Dourif does not mention who the actor was or why he "didn't work out."

Andy Serkis (Gollum/Sméagol)
English, 38; 30 IMDB credits
Breakout role: Most likely this one
Other films: Grushko, Prince of Jutland (aka Royal Deceit), The Near Room, The Pale Horse, Career Girls, Mojo, Stella Does Tricks, Loop, Among Giants, The Jump, Sweeny Barrett, Clueless (not to be confused with Alicia Silverstone flick of same name), Topsy-Turvy, Oliver Twist (not the same one as Elijah Wood), Five Seconds to Spare, Shiner, Arabian Nights (TV), Pandaemonium, The Escapist, Deathwatch, 24 Hour Party People
Official site:

Sean Bean (Boromir)
English, 43; 61 IMDB credits
Perhaps best known as: Richard Sharpe, from a series of British TV movies
Other films: Derek Jarman's Caravaggio, The Field (with Richard Harris), Lorna Doone, Clarissa, Patriot Games, Lady Chatterley, Shopping, Black Beauty, "Scarlett" (the infamous Gone with the Wind sequel-miniseries), Jacob (TV), Goldeneye, When Saturday Comes, Anna Karenina, Ronin, Bravo Two Zero, Essex Boys, Don't Say a Word, Tom and Thomas, Equilibrium
Coming Soon: The Big Empty
Did you know? It's said that Bean, famous in Britain in the Sharpe films, frequently ends up with lines in other movies referring to that character (although we're not sure whose doing that is--his, or filmmakers who are fans of the movies). In Fellowship, Boromir picks up the broken sword Narsil, cuts his hand, and mutters, "Still sharp[e]."

David Wenham (Faramir)
Australian, 37; 34 IMDB credits
Breakout role: Most likely this one
Other films: Seeing Red, Greenkeeping, No Escape, Gino, Cosi, Idiot Box, The Boys, Dark City, A Little Bit of Soul, Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, Better Than Sex, The Beach (not Leonardo DiCaprio film of same name), Russian Doll (with Hugo Weaving), Moulin Rouge!, The Bank, Dust, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (oh dear), Pure, Banged Out
Coming soon: Gettin' Square, "After the Deluge" (miniseries), Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale

Liv Tyler (Arwen Evenstar)
American, 25; 26 IMDB credits
Breakout role: the Aerosmith video "Crazy"; lead singer Steven Tyler is, for those of you under a rock, her father
Other films: Silent Fall, Heavy, Empire Records, Stealing Beauty, That Thing You Do!, Inventing the Abbotts, U Turn, Can't Hardly Wait (uncredited "Voice of Gum Girl"), Armageddon, "Hercules" (TV cartoon series, "Asteria"), Plunkett and Macleane, Onegin, Dr. T and the Women, One Night at McCool's
Coming soon: Jersey Girl, with Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)
Nigerian-born but has lived in Australia since 1976, 42; 43 IMDB credits
Perhaps best known as: Agent Smith in the Matrix films
Other films: "Bangkok Hilton" (miniseries), Almost, Proof (with Russell Crowe), Reckless Kelly (with, um, Yahoo Serious), Frauds, The Custodian; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Exile, Babe and Babe: Pig in the City (voice of Rex the Sheepdog), Bedrooms and Hallways, The Interview, Little Echo Lost, Strange Planet, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, Russian Doll
Coming soon: The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, "After the Deluge" (with David Wenham)
Did you know? It's said that David Bowie campaigned for the part of Elrond; instead, producer Barrie Osborne--who also produces the Matrix films--brought Weaving onto the LOTR production. Coincidentally, it was LOTR's success filming three movies simultaneously that gave the Matrix filmmakers the idea to film Reloaded and Revolutions together.

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)
Australian, 33; 31 IMDB credits
Breakout role: As Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, for which she was nominated for an Oscar
Other films: Paradise Road, Thank God He Met Lizzie (aka The Wedding Party), Oscar and Lucinda, An Ideal Husband, Pushing Tin (review), The Talented Mr. Ripley, Bangers, The Man Who Cried, The Gift, Bandits (review), Charlotte Gray, The Shipping News, Heaven
Coming soon: Veronica Guerin, The Last Ride with Tommy Lee Jones; a Mata Hari film is rumored
Did you know? Blanchett says she took the role to work with Peter Jackson--and the pointy ears.

Craig Parker (Haldir)
Fiji-born, 32; 9 IMDB credits
Other film/TV credits: "Gloss," The Tommyknockers, "Shortland Street" (on which Karl Urban also appeared), "2 People" (read the scathing reader review of this one on the IMDB--yikes), No One Can Hear You, "Mercy Peak"
Coming soon: Rocky Horror Picture Show (TV), in honor of the  original movie's 30th anniversary
Did you know? Like Karl Urban, Parker has appeared on "Xena: Warrior Princess" (as Bellerophon, King Cleades, and Prince Sarpordon) multiple times, but also on "Young Hercules" (as Lucius).

Marton Csokas
New Zealander, 36; 21 IMDB credits
Other films/TV credits: "Shortland Street," Twilight of the Gods, Broken English, The Three Stooges (TV), Accidents, Rain, Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones (uncredited "Poggle the Lesser"), XXX, Garage Days
Coming soon: Kangaroo Jack, Timeline

Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz, Witch King of Angmar in ROTK)
: New Zealander, 34; 7 IMDB credits
Other films: Rapa Nui, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, Crooked Earth, Maori Merchant of Venice, Die Another Day

Sala Baker
Sauron in FOTR, ROTK; "Man flesh!" Uruk in TTT; also stunts, second unit work
Stats: New Zealander, 26
Did you know? Baker was basically plucked from the crew to embody Sauron in the FOTR pro-logue, and will play him again in ROTK.

Filmmaker Cameos

Billy and Katie Jackson

The children of director Peter Jackson and cowriter Fran Walsh, they appear both as "Cute Hobbit Children" (see the scene where Bilbo tells the story of the trolls at the party, and look for the little girl making the "Trolls?!" face) and "Cute Rohan Refugees" (see the Glittering Caves scene during Helm's Deep, and look for the little girl making the the "Orcs?!" face). No word on who they play in ROTK.
Did you know? Every single actor in Lord of the Rings wore a wig... except Billy Jackson as a  hobbit boy.

Peter Jackson

Keep an eye out for the director in both Fellowship (as a rather unsavory character with a carrot in Bree) and Two Towers. Reports, "Look out for two quick appearances by Peter Jackson in TTT. One is amongst the crowd of wild men, as they run towards the camera after Saruman's pep talk; the other is on the wall of Helm's Deep. Nikolaj writes: 'As the Uruk-Hais are trying to batter down the gate to the castle, the defenders open some sort of shutters and hurl rocks at the attackers.PJ is one of the rock-hurlers. You see him briefly. He is carrying a piece of chain armor not only covering the body but also with a kind of hood.' "

Cowriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens: Adds TORN, Boyens may also be in the Glittering Caves with the Jackson children. Walsh--and Jackson, sans beard, for that matter--can be glimpsed in the portraits hanging in Bilbo's study. (Click the thumbnail pic for a look at the portraits at the Casa Loma exhibit in 2001.)

Alan Lee: The famed Tolkien illustrator--and conceptual designer for the films--can be seen both as one of the nine kings of men in the FOTR prologue and at Helm's Deep. Says TORN, "Alan Lee and Dan Hennah [the production designer], both appear in the scene where Legolas says that 300 against 10,000 are hopeless odds and that they would all die. They appear behind Aragorn and play two elder men being armed."

Six Degrees of Middle Earth:

"Shortland Street": Described by the IMDB as "a five-night-a-week soap set in an Auckland City hospital, [it] follows the complicated personal and professional lives of it's staff, family and friends." In the course of researching the LOTR cast, we found no fewer than 7 actors who had appeared on the show--Marton Csokas (Celeborn), Bruce Hopkins ("Gamling, guardian of Helm's Dike"--basically, the old man who shoots first at Helm's Deep), John Leigh (Hama), Robyn Malcolm (Morwen--the woman who sends her children off to safety), Craig Parker (Haldir), Karl Urban (Éomer), and Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad).

"Hercules," "Xena," and "Young Hercules": Several LOTR actors have appeared on the three TV series, which were shot in New Zealand; LOTR costume designer Ngila Dickson worked on all three.
You know you've seen 'em somewhere before--or you want to see them again. Well, once again, we do the legwork so you don't have to.

Helpful hint: Use shift + F as a quick search function if you're looking for something/ someone specific.

Other LOTR features: Movie reviews * Guide to Middle Earth * Wallpaper

Don't forget to check out our Lord of the Rings affiliates if you'd like to know more:
Musing of Viggo
Elijah Fan
Cate Blanchett Online
Admired Miranda
Orlando Multimedia
War of the Ring
Fran Walsh in the Belladonna Took portrait