With a budget of around $300 million, the Lord of the Rings franchise was one of the biggest film projects of its time. While most directors wait to see the box office numbers in order to greenlight a sequel, all three films in the series was shot simultaneously in New Zealand. Luckily for director Peter Jackson, the film became a box office success; all three movies in the trilogy have earned a combined $3 billion.
We’re taking a look at the whereabouts of the franchise’s stars since the original trilogy ended in 2003.
The first person on the list spends their time rocking out with a former Guns ‘N Roses member.
10. Viggo Mortensen
While filming The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the trilogy, managed to break a tooth and two toes in two seperate incidents. When he’s not busy getting nominated for his various roles, the New York City native works on his music and poetry. In 2011, he released Reunion, which is his ninth collaboration album with former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Buckethead.
9. Miranda Otto
Australian actress Miranda Otto earned the role of Éowyn when Alison Doody had to drop the role due to a pregnancy. Otto herself had to slow down with the acting to take care of her family back home. In 2016, it was revealed that she would be the female lead of the Fox series 24: Legacy.
8. Cate Blanchett
Before playing Galadriel, Cate Blanchett landed the role of Bard the Bowman in the Methodist Ladies’ College production of The Hobbit in 1986. Over the years, the actress has used her fame to help support various causes and organizations; she is an ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, Australian Conservation Foundation, and Australian Film Institute.
The next cast member became an ordained minister to help his best friend tie the knot.
7. Sir Ian McKellen
When it came to getting into character, Sir Ian McKellen listened to audio of author J.R.R. Tolkien reading Gandolf lines. Since 2012, McKellen has been an honorary board member of Only Make Believe, which creates plays for children’s hospitals across the country. He is currently making everyone jealous with his friendship with X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart.
6. Sean Astin
Much like co-star Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin experienced some pain during filming; while shooting one particular scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, he accidentally stepped on a chunk of glass, which sent him to the emergency room to get stitches. In The Return of the King, his real life daughter Alexandra played his onscreen daughter Elanor Gamgee. Kids today probably know Astin best as Raphael in Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
5. Dominic Monaghan
When he was 15 years old, Dominic Monaghan was given The Lord of the Rings as a present from his father. A decade later, the German actor found himself on top of the world with his portrayal of Meriadoc Brandybuck. Originally, he auditioned to play Frodo Baggins. He currently hosts his own wildlife show titled Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.
The next cast member knows a thing or two about broken body parts.
4. Orlando Bloom
While Orlando Bloom originally tried out for the role of Faramir, his portrayal of Legolas earned the English native a plethora of accolades and a few broken ribs on the set. For someone who managed to break both legs and crack their skull on three separate occasions, it was just another day at the hospital. In 2014, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Andy Serkis
As Gollum, Andy Serkis delivered some of the most outstanding performances in the film. Unfortunately, his work couldn’t be recognized by the Oscars because his character was computer generated. After working on the film, Serkis opened his own motion capture studio called The Imaginarium Studios, which is being used for the current Planet of the Apes film series.
2. Karl Urban
In order to get ready for the role of Eomer, New Zealand actor Karl Urban spent two months learning how to properly ride a horse. Urban is a celebrity ambassador for KidsCan, which is a New Zealand charity formed to help aid poor children. His most noticeable role since Lord of the Rings is Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the Star Trek reboot series; his performance made the late Leonard Nimoy shed several tears.
The last person did something to show off their love for music.
1. Elijah Wood
During his time as Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood took home one of two prop rings from the film. Aside from starring in major box office films, Wood is an avid music lover. In 2005, he started his own record label called Simian Records, which has released music from Heloise & The Savoir Faire and The Apples in Stereo.
The success of the trilogy, including the 11-time Oscar winning finale The Return of the King, sparked an interest in J. R. R. Tolkien’s work and helped spawn The Hobbit trilogy, which was equally as successful. The trilogy changed the face of cinema forever with the introduction of performance capture, and it gave birth to extended edition DVDs, which have become extremely commonplace today.
Who was your favorite character from the series? What moments did you think were the best? Let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family!