There have always been rumours that David Bowie was nearly in Lord of the Rings, but now we have confirmation from one of the trilogy’s casting directors.
Speaking to the Huffington Post, casting director Amy Hubbard confirmed that it was David Bowie who director Peter Jackson originally wanted to play Gandalf, but the singer was sadly too busy.
Earlier this year, Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in the trilogy, had told Huffington Post that he’d seen Bowie at the casting agency.
“David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” Monaghan said. “And I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for.”
Shedding more light on the Bowie LOTR story, Hubbard told the website that the singer never actually had a formal audition. “He was unavailable,” she said.
“It was a very quick conversation with the legendary Chris Andrews at CAA. I do believe that David 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.
“We approached him. I’m pretty sure it was Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going,” she continued.
“It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris, and [Bowie] was far too busy.”
Of course the role eventually went to Ian McKellen, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else with that famous long white beard. But it is fun to think of what could have been if Bowie had been the one to say, “you shall not pass”.