Here's Why David Bowie Wasn't Cast as Gandalf in 'Lord of the Rings'

Jimmy King
David Bowie

The official story about why late rock legend David Bowie wasn’t cast in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has finally surfaced.

In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, LOTR casting director Amy Hubbard said that Bowie was considered for the role of Gandalf, but that the musician couldn’t commit because of his busy schedule. It ultimately went to actor Sir Ian McKellen.

“We approached [Bowie],” Hubbard said. “I’m pretty sure it was Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris [Andrews, Bowie’s agent], and [Bowie] was far too busy.”

Earlier this year, rumors surfaced that Bowie had been considered for a part in LOTR after Dominic Monaghan, who played hobbit Merry in the trilogy, recalled seeing the rocker walk out of an addition -- or so he thought.

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"I was at the Hubbard’s, which is a pretty notorious casting agency office in London, doing an audition for The Lord of the Rings and when it ended I went over a talked to John Hubbard who was running the audition," Monaghan told The Huffington Post.

Having been told that his audition went well, Monaghan said he was asked to wait for feedback, so sat in the reception office.

"As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in. I’m assuming he read for Gandalf. I can’t think of anything else he would’ve read for."

Bowie's rumored interest in joining LOTR had been well documented since the first film was released, with the musician reportedly keen on playing Elrond, the elf lord of Rivendell. The role eventually went to Hugo Weaving, with Jackson at the time saying: "To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable."