David Bowie possessed as much power on film as he did on stage or record. Perhaps most beloved for his outrageous role as Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth (may he never be replaced), the consummate performer almost brought his gravitas to another classic film: Lord of the Rings.
It’s been long rumored that Bowie was turned down for Peter Jackson’s fantasy franchise, but Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry the hobbit in the trilogy, recently confirmed that he saw Bowie at an audition. Monaghan recalled to Huffington Post that while at London casting agency Hubbard’s trying out for LotR, he was told to wait for feedback at reception.
“As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” he said. “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’s been speculated that Bowie was actually there auditioning for the role of Elrond, the elf king, a part that eventually went to Hugo Weaving. As for why Jackson rejected Bowie, the story goes that the director thought the singer/actor’s own fame threatened to overshadow the film itself. Can’t really say he was wrong there.