There are a lot of reasons why an actor would turn down a role, even one that might make them even more famous than they already are. At one point a lot of people did want Russell Crowe in their movies since he was a number one hit and was able to produce action and drama in just about anything he did. But when it came to The Lord of the Rings it sounds as though Peter Jackson didn’t want him to begin with, which a lot of people might say is crazy since not wanting one of the biggest stars in Hollywood would be just nuts. Directors are hard to figure out sometimes though, and while some of them might have been falling over themselves to sign someone like Russell, it sounds as though Jackson was of the mind that Russell just wasn’t the guy he wanted. In fact, Russell had a good idea that Jackson wanted Viggo Mortensen and had been cajoled into talking to him instead to see if Crowe would be interested. The politics of Hollywood are tough to figure out sometimes since a studio exec or producer might want one actor while a director wants another, and the two can likely go to war over casting decisions at times. But instead of making this a bigger deal than it needed to be, Crower refused the role and stepped aside, and things continued to happen as might expect as Viggo Mortensen was brought on the cast as Aragorn and the movie rolled out as it was.
People should at least be able to give Russell a bit of credit for walking away from a role that the director didn’t want him for since he could have made a huge stink about it and really dug in his heels in order to get the role. But whether it went down as calmly as it sounds or not, he did walk away and the role ended up going to Mortensen, which was obviously the best choice at that time. But with so many stories of actors behaving like divas when it comes to not getting what they want, it’s refreshing to hear stories of actors actually walking away before any trouble could really start, even if there’s more to the story that we’re not getting at this time. In any dealing with an actor and a director it’s very likely that we’re not hearing the full story, but even if we’re not the matter has never really become something that people are bound to talk about simply because it blew up all over social media. A celebrity that can just walk away from something is obviously comfortable enough in saying no to a role, but it’s hoped that they’re doing so for a mature reason rather than just because they could. Seriously, there have been actors that have walked off of a set for some of the dumbest and most juvenile of reasons, and people have still done what they could to bring them back.
There are a lot of people out there that would defend stars acting like divas by saying something insipid such as “You don’t know what they go through”, and they’re not entirely wrong. They’re not entirely right either, since like it or not, the celebrities are performing a job and one that pays far more when one reaches a certain level. But it’s still a job, and one might be glad to have a job at this point thanks to the pandemic. But since this predates the pandemic, the best explanation to give is that Russell knew that Jackson didn’t want him for the role and as a result, he stepped aside. Sometimes it’s better to swallow your pride and step aside rather than causing a problem, but it’s all about knowing when that moment is and how to handle it. Russell could have made a full-blown case as to why he was perfect for the role, why Jackson was just being ‘difficult’ and how it was unfair and unjust, and all the other noises that celebrities are known to make sometimes, but instead, he stepped aside. People can debate all they want when it comes to the why of it, but the reality of this situation is that there are times when the stars bite their tongues and stand aside to let someone else have the chance, and there are times when they decide to speak up since they really want a role. Obviously, Russell didn’t want it that bad this time, and he made it known with his actions.
This is probably one of the least dramatic moments in Hollywood when it comes to who was pushed towards a part and who turned it down, and it’s nice to know that they exist.
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