'Lord of the Rings': Why One Oscar-Winner Passed on the Movie and Severely Regretted It

To many fans, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is a perfect fantasy adaptation, but to actor Adrien Brody it's mostly a missed opportunity. Brody recently revealed that he had turned down a role in The Fellowship of the Ring during an interview with GQ where he looked back on his whole career. He admitted that he regretted it once the movies came out, and continues to wonder how things might have been different if he had said yes.

"I, somehow, didn't grasp it," Brody said of the massive project he passed on. "I don't know what part I would have been right for, but it was some Hobbit-like character. I was looking for something else." Brody said that he regretted his decision as soon as he saw Fellowship in theaters. He also said that part of the reason he later took a role in King Kong was to work with Jackson and make up for his previous lapse.

"I remember going to see Lord of the Rings in the theater with an ex-girlfriend, and she turned to me and said: 'you passed on Lord of the Rings?!' I remember feeling so stupid. But I don't think I would have gotten the role of Jack in Peter's [King Kong]. I don't think that would have translated."

If Brody was offered a specific part in the movie, he could not recall which one, and neither Jackson nor anyone else has ever revealed it in any of the extensive behind-the-scenes discussions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movies were shot simultaneously from the fall of 1999 to the winter of 2000 in New Zealand, and they premiered in 2001, 2002 and 2003. In many ways, they are responsible for the current boom in epic fantasy adaptations in both TV and movies.

The trilogy became one of the most commercially and critically successful film series ever made, with a total gross of $2.991 billion in worldwide receipts. It also helped launch or revitalize the careers of some of its biggest stars, which likely influenced Brody's regrets.

Still, the legacy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is not spotless, and many fans poke fun at the more silly elements of the films out of love for the overall product. It also suffers from the association with the later Hobbit trilogy, which was not nearly as critically acclaimed.

These days, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's work are more focused on the upcoming TV series set in Middle-Earth being produced for Amazon Prime Video. It goes by the working title Lord of the Rings, though it will tell a different story set thousands of years before Bilbo - or even Gollum - ever picked up the One Ring. The show is currently slated to be released on Sept. 2, 2022.