The Lord of the Rings movies are extremely well cast. Baically everyone nails their Lord of the Rings character, to the point it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the roles. In the late ’90s, Keanu Reeves had his eye on the Peter Jackson’s fantasy movies, and one fixture in particular.
During the press cycle for science fiction movie The Matrix, Reeves stated plainly that he wanted to be Aragorn, and he was actively trying to convince Jackson for the job. “I’m petitioning to play Strider,” Reeves told Cinescape Online in 1999. “I’d love to work with [Peter Jackson], but I’m not sure if it’s going to go ahead. I hope I can.”
This was something Reeves echoed over and over, including when he spoke to TV Week in Australia around the same time. “I might have to go begging for the role,” he said. “I have people making calls right now. Hopefully he’ll think I’m right for the part. I’m the man. I’m there.”
It’s unknown why Reeves didn’t get the part. Maybe Jackson missed all the memos and calls? What’s more likely is that Reeves became tied up in The Matrix sequels and couldn’t commit to the adventure movie trilogy as it was being shot back-to-back.
Stuart Townsend was to play Strider, or Aragorn, initially, before Viggo Mortensen was drafted in the early days of filming. The rest, as they say, is history. Reeves would’ve been a fascinating choice for Aragorn, though not necessarily a good one, Mortensen bodied the hero, and everyone still came away with fine careers.
You never know, Reeves might still get his chance one day. Check out our guide to Rings of Power season 2 for what’s next in Middle-earth.