The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released 15 years ago this week, on December 19, 2001. The ambitious project was the result of over two years of filming and post production with a staggering budget of $93 million. Directed by Peter Jackson, who won the rights to direct in 1997, this film was the first in what would become a six-part Tolkien saga. Fellowship of the Ring went on to gross over $871 million, making it the 49th highest grossing film of all time (unadjusted for inflation). The film also shot several actors to stardom, making them household names. Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, and Dominic Monaghan were all able to capitalize on the film’s success, while the other actors who were already known used The Lord of the Rings to carry them on to projects that they loved. So what are the nine members of the Fellowship all doing now?
Frodo Baggins: Elijah Wood was already a well-known actor before Lord of the Rings. Afterwards, he continued acting in numerous films including Sin City, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He also has lent his voice to the animated films Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two. Wood is currently starring in the BBC America series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, based on a series of books by beloved author, Douglas Adams.
Samwise Gamgee: Sean Astin is another actor who was already well known in Hollywood before his turn as the forthright everyman, Samwise Gamgee. After his turn in the epic, he continued to work in film, starring in over 30 movies and guest starring in multiple television shows from NCIS to The Strain. He was recently cast in the Netflix breakout series Stranger Things as Bob Newby in Season 2.
Gandalf the Grey: Ian McKellen is a multiple award-winning English actor who has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and is considered a British national treasure. Since playing Gandalf, Sir McKellen has continued to work on the stage in both Broadway and London, starred in numerous movies, and managed to take the internet by storm with his friendship with fellow English actor, Patrick Stewart. As an openly gay actor, Sir McKellen is an international champion of LGBT rights everywhere.
Strider/Aragorn: Viggo Mortenson was a lesser-known character actor prior to starring as Aragorn. Since then, he has starred in multiple films, gaining him critical acclaim and numerous Golden Globe, Saturn Award, and Academy Award nominations for best actor. He recently starred in the comedic drama, Captain Fantastic, for which he has received a SAG nomination, and his third Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Gimli: John Rhys-Davies is another British actor who has been working in the industry for nearly 30 years prior to his role as the dwarf Gimli. He continues to work in film and television, with over 20 films to his credit since the last Lord of the Rings film was released. His most recent high-profile role was that of King Eventine Elessedil on MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles, based on the second book in The Original Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks.
Legolas: Orlando Bloom fired the hearts and imaginations of men and women around the world when he donned the leather garb of the elven archer, Legolas. Since The Lord of the Rings, Bloom has starred in twenty-seven films including the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, and the historical dramas Troy, and Kingdom of Heaven. His latest work, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is due to be released in 2017.
Pippin: Before taking the role of Peregrin Took, Billy Boyd was a Scottish stage actor with minor film credits to his name. After The Lord of the Rings, he starred in 17 films and also co-wrote and performed the song, “The Last Goodbye” which played over the closing credits of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Boyd is the front man for a band called the Beecakes and continues to work on the stage. In a strange intersection with another Lord of the Rings alumni, Boyd starred in the BBC Radio adaptation of the book, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.”
Merry: Dominic Monaghan is a British actor who after The Lord of the Rings is best known for his role as Charlie Pace in the television series, Lost. He is currently starring in the nature documentary series, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, which airs on the Travel Channel. It was nominated as an Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards, losing to Deadliest Catch.
Boromir: Sean Bean is a British Actor who has been in the business since 1983. After playing the role of the ill-fated Boromir, Bean went on to star in a number of high-profile films including National Treasure, Troy, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and The Martian. He also had an award winning season as Ned Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Currently, you can hear Sean Bean’s voice as the narrator in the newest Civilization game, although he doesn’t live through the opening credits.
There is no doubt that The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring had a huge impact on all of the actors and actresses involved. Who are your favorite actors from the movies and what are your favorite post-Lord of the Rings roles that they’ve taken? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by New Line Cinema]