Just imagine for a second if David Bowie had played Gandalf in Lord of the Rings – the, ‘You shall not pass!’ delivery would have been very different.
Well, according to Dominic Monaghan – who played hobbit Merry in the fantasy trilogy – that idea isn’t quite as far fetched as you might think.
The actor revealed to the Huffington Post that he was surprised to see Bowie while he was auditioning for his role in the film:
I was at the Hubbard’s casting agency office in London, doing an audition for Lord of the Rings.
When it ended I went over and talked to John Hubbard, who was running the audition.
He told me it went really well and I should wait around for five or ten mins to get some feedback. I thought, ‘Oh, OK, cool, and I sat in the reception office.
Monaghan – also known for his role as Charlie in J.J Abrams’ Lost – said that as he was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came and signed in to read for a part.
Monaghan told the Huffington Post:
I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for.
He may have read for something else, but I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and I’m lucky enough to know his son. Just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.
According to the Guardian, though, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has previously hinted that Bowie was actually reading for the role of Elrond, the half-elven lord of Rivendell – a part that eventually went to the Australian actor Hugo Weaving.
Jackson told Entertainment Weekly in 2001:
These are famous, famous characters, loved for nearly 50 years. To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable.
So it doesn’t look like Bowie was ever going to take on Sir Ian McKellen’s now famous role, but his goblin king skills could have been easily transferred to the part of Elrond.
Maybe he would have brought the infamous Labyrinth cod-piece to the role…