Tolkien MeMes #3. “The Lord of the Rings” – our favourite cast of 1995

As things are slowly building towards the upcoming Amazon Lord of the Rings on Prime series fandom has been starting to do the usual stuff: suggestions, ideas, wishes, fears and with some members of the cast and staff having been revealed the question remains as to the many other characters that could be part of it.

Browsing through some of the material that I have in my collection I stumbled across this lovely piece and I wanted to share it with you to show you how wrong one can be.

I was responsible for one of the only German-speaking Tolkien fanzines called the Speisekarte (The Menu) which ran to nine editions (a tenth jubilee edition was never published, unfortunately.) 

In no. 2 there was a “brainstorming” by the special interest group I had co-founded in 1994 with one of Germany’s largest roleplaying societies, the Gilde der Fantasyrollenspieler e.V. (GfR) on the prospective actors and actresses to play a part in a live-action adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

Now, do keep in mind this was well before anyone had ever heard of Peter Jackson and the film(s) do be done in New Zealand. 

I don’t really know where to start but to know that we did not get ONE name right somehow very much pleases me. I remember discussions in early forums where the name of Sean Connery was handled for: Gandalf, Théoden, Denethor & Saruman. 

The Fellowship

  •  Gandalf: Jürgen Prochnow (mostly know as Duke Leto Atreides from David Lynch’s DUNE) 
  • Aragorn: Kevin Costner/ Harrison Ford (really, kid?)
  • Boromir: Kevin Costner (again), Kiefer Sutherland
  • Legolas: Kenneth Branagh/ Brad Pitt (yeah, it’s all about the looks)
  • Gimli: Danny DeVito ??? (I can hear the Penguin cackle) 
  • Frodo: Warwick Davis (aka Willow Ufgood; today most people would know him as Professor Flitwick)
  • Pippin: Michael J. Fox/ Kevin Kline (what the hell?)
  • Merry: Steve Martin
  • Samwise: ???
  • the hobbits in general = the dwarves from “Time Bandits.”

I like the fact that we obviously considered Danny DeVito to be an excellent choice for both Tom Bombadil AND Gimli. I mean, it is quite natural to think so, right?

Winona Rider was also a double option with both Éowyn and Arwen. 

However, I have to say that Agent Elrond might have been better played by Patrick Stewart, indeed!

Ah, we obviously thought that this would have to be a blockbuster film with the greatest names in show business. Funny to see that they were only able to make it in then because they saved so much money on actors and actresses *g*

I will do an extended post soon on the Speisekarte, how it came to be, its contents and what other excellent ideas the special interest group might have had back then. It was the breeding ground for the German Tolkien Society, a registered charity I founded in 1997, and as such I do not only have fond memories for it but a few things to show as well.

I will leave you with the title page of the second issue of the Speisekarte.

And a link I finally found after quite a bit of finagling: The first ever Tolkien Special Interest group website with Geocities in Area 51 (science fiction and fantasy) and the subheading Labyrinth as this is one of my favourite films. The capture is from February 1999 when the changes thanks to the Yahoo take over had not happened yet. In case you do not really know what this is about, check out the WP_EN site for Geocities – this is how we did internet back then!

http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Labyrinth/6747/ 

 

Marcel R. Bülles

Marcel R. Bülles is the author of thetolkienist.com, a specialist blog centering on worldwide Tolkien fandom, geekdom and research. He works as a freelance translator, journalist and writer and is the founder of the German Tolkien Society as well as a co-founder to RingCon, Europe's formerly biggest fantasy film convention. You can find him in cafés all over the world sipping an espresso blogging, writing, reading. At one point he was married to an extremely lovely French lady by the nickname of Sauron. Yes, that Sauron. He is also active with the International Tolkien Fellowship on Facebook and the Tolkien Folk on Instagram.