It’s no secret that David Bowie was a true renaissance man, exploring his creativity in a wide range of mediums, but aside from music, acting was probably his second greatest love. Having appeared in film and on television, beginning with a guest role on Theatre 625 in 1968, and starring in such films as The Hunger (1983) and Labyrinth (1986), Bowie was no stranger to the cinematic world. As Dominic Monaghan, who played The Lord of the Rings‘ Meriadoc Brandybuck, points out, David might even have changed the face of the J.R.R. trilogy if Peter Jackson hadn’t had other ideas in mind.
The Lord Of The Rings Would Not Welcome The Goblin King To Middle Earth
David Bowie auditioned for The Lord of the Rings. We know this, because Dominic Monaghan was auditioning for the role of his now famous hobbit, Meriadoc Brandybuck, on the same day and, as chance would have it, the two men ran into one another. The owner of the casting agency asked Monaghan to stick around after his interview because he felt the audition had gone well and wanted to offer Dominic some feedback.
“As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” Monaghan continued. “And 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 was lucky enough to know his son now, so just seeing him in person was pretty special to me.”
It seems much more likely that Mr. Bowie had been interested in auditioning for Elrond, because there had long been rumors that David longed to play that Lord of the Rings character in particular. The part ultimately went to Hugo Weaving. Unfortunately for Bowie, Peter Jackson stated early in the production of the first film that he preferred to work with those actors that weren’t yet superstars, such as Weaving, Monaghan, and Orlando Bloom, who was still fairly new to acting at the time.
“These are famous, famous characters, loved for nearly 50 years,” The Lord of the Rings director said of his casting choices. “To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable.”
David Bowie Loved Watching Films As Much As Acting In Them
In 2003, David Bowie was on tour to promote the release of Reality, but he would find out mid-way through the scheduled dates that his body had other plans. A heart attack brought an end to the tour and convinced David to retire from live appearances, a plan to which he remained steadfastly loyal, save for a few very special events. Mr. Bowie continued to write and release new albums, but without those promotional tours, he found that he had more time on his hands to enjoy life.
While at a party, a reporter once asked Bowie what he did with his time. The musician and actor responded that he took a walk every morning and that he spent a good deal of his time watching films.
“One day, I watched three Woody Allen movies in a row,” David told the reporter. “I like going out to [downtown movie theater] the Angelika: If the first one’s only OK, I’ll sneak into one after the other. It’s so easy.”
Later in his retirement, David revealed that new art in all of its forms inspired him and never failed to draw his attention.
“I love seeing new theater, I love seeing new bands, art shows, everything. I get everywhere – very quietly and never above 14th Street.”
David Bowie was born on in Brixton, London, England and passed away on (age 69) in New York City, New York.
[Featured image by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for TFF]