‘Lord Of The Rings’ casting director reveals why David Bowie didn’t play Gandalf

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Actor Dominic Monaghan suggested earlier this year that Bowie had auditioned for the role made famous by Ian McKellen.

David Bowie didn’t appear in Lord Of The Rings because he was “too busy”, the film’s casting director has revealed.

Earlier this year Dominic Monaghan – who played hobbit Merry Brandybuck in the film franchise – seemingly confirmed rumours that Bowie tried out for the trilogy’s first instalment, 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

“I was at the Hubbard’s, which is a pretty notorious casting agency office in London, doing an audition for Lord of the Rings,” Monaghan The Huffington Post. “As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in.”

As for what role Bowie went for, Monaghan said: “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 [am] lucky enough to know his son [film director Duncan Jones] now, so just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.”

However, casting director Amy Hubbard has now confirmed that Bowie never actually auditioned for the film because he couldn’t commit to the trilogy’s lengthy filming schedule.

“He was unavailable,” Hubbard told The Huffington Post, adding: “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.”

Hubbard also confirmed that it was the role of Gandalf, eventually played by Sir Ian McKellen, that Bowie was considered for.

She explained: “We approached him. I’m pretty sure it was Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris [Andrews, Bowie’s agent], and [Bowie] was far too busy.”

Away from music, Bowie also enjoyed a successful and varied acting career with high-profile roles in Labyrinth, The Last Temptation Of Christ and The Prestige. His final film role was a brief cameo in the 2008 musical comedy Bandslam.

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