the the Lord of the Rings The film trilogy not only broke records, shattered box office expectations and taped everywhere at the Oscars, but it also brought a number of very talented actors and actresses to the world stage, some for the first time. Relative unknowns became sensations overnight, and even the smallest part is credited with contributing to Peter Jackson’s amazing vision.
Many of the cast had been in the theater business for quite some time, while others only had a few parts to their name. Independently, LOTR fans might be surprised to learn of the existence of some actors who have performed in other incredible roles over the years. Here are just a handful.
ten Ian Holm – Alien (1979)
While it’s easy to recognize the late Ian Holm as the face of Bilbo Baggins, many fans forget that he was actually one of the main stars of the original. Extraterrestrial in 1979. Holm played the sinister Ash, a science officer overly interested in the deadly xenomorphic species encountered by the Nostromo crew on LV-426.
Holm played Ash with a mix of gooey and sociopathic tendencies. His false concern for his crew was evident in his manners and facial expressions as he tried to keep up appearances while hiding what he really was. Audiences learned the shocking truth in the second half of the film.
9 Karl Urban – Hercules: The Legendary Voyages (1995)
These days, Karl Urban is busy producing a villainous performance as William Butcher, the crass hater of superheroes on the Amazon TV adaptation of The boys. He had his big break in the original the Lord of the Rings trilogy as the horse master Eomer of Rohan who put his Hollywood career back on track.
Before that success came to him, Urban appeared as the love of God Cupid in Hercules: the legendary voyages. He would reprise the role several times out of the two Hercules and its spin-off Xena: the warrior princess.
8 Bruce Allpress – The Piano (1993)
Many the Lord of the Rings Fans may not recognize Bruce Allpress’s name, but they certainly remember him as the archer who accidentally releases his arrow from the top of Helm’s Deep and kills an Uruk-hai warrior below. It remains one of the funniest comic relief scenes in The two towers, and a welcome given the dark setting.
Allpress had starred in a number of prominent productions over the years, but is best known for his role as a blind piano tuner in the 1993 film. The piano, with Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill.
7 Sean Astin – Little Soldiers (1991)
Frodo’s best friend Samwise Gamgee is well known for the Lord of the Rings fans, and actor Sean Astin is instantly recognizable because of it. However, before the Lord of the Rings has become a global phenomenon, Astin has starred in a series of films such as Encino Man, Courage Under Fire and Rudy.
Audiences began to take notice of Astin after he starred in the 1991 film. Toy soldiers next to Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton. Astin played the wise delinquent Billy Tepper, a schoolboy who leads his classmates in a dangerous revolt against a group of terrorists who take control of their wealthy boarding school.
6 Lawrence Makoare – Xena: The Warrior Princess (1995)
Actor Lawrence Makoare has been heavily involved in several the Lord of the Rings projects including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He is best remembered for playing the formidable and terrifying leader Uruk-hai Lurtz who personally leads a campaign against the Camaraderie in the first movie.
Makoare is another in a long line of LOTR actors who cut their teeth playing in Hercules: the legendary voyages and its derived properties. Makoare starred in Xena: the warrior princess like Maecenus, as well as a barbarian chief. His imposing physical stature undoubtedly has a lot to do with it.
5 Bernard Hill – Titanic (1997)
Actor Bernard Hill gave the role of Theoden a royal presence that will be remembered through the ages. His performance was multifaceted and evolutionary, and helped set the stage for the final climate battle that would unfold later in Return of the king.
Hill had starred in a number of high profile projects prior to his debut in The two towers, including The ghost in the dark, First knight (for which he was not credited) and A midsummer night’s dream. However, he is best known for playing Captain Smith in James Cameron’s 1997 uber-epic. Titanic.
4 Marton Csokas – xXx (2002)
Actor Marton Csokas was barely recognizable as Celeborn’s wood elf The Fellowship of the Ring, and this is probably due to his earlier career which largely consisted of television roles. After his small role in Camaraderie, Csokas’ career began to take off.
His first really important role was as the main villain Yorgi in the Vin Diesel action vehicle. xXx. Comparing the characters of Yorgi and Celeborn is shocking to say the least.
3 Sarah McLeod – A Twist In The Tale (1999)
Samwise Gamgee’s love interest Rosie Cotton was played by the charming Sarah McLeod, and while she didn’t have much screen time, it gave Sam’s character something to remember when the community quest has become too much to bear. The actress hasn’t starred in a myriad of roles before or since, but she’s landed one in one particular location.
McLeod starred in William Shatner’s A twist in history, a 1999 television series featuring children as characters in each new story. She portrayed Nicky in the episode “A Crack In Time”.
2 John Noble – The Lost World (1999)
These days, John Noble is a recognizable face thanks to his appearance in the the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he has since starred in a multitude of projects, including the sci-fi television hit Fringe. More recently he has regained his LOTR co-star Karl Urban in an appearance as William Butcher’s father on AmazonThe boys.
Noble had been involved in a series of small projects leading to The Lord of the Rings, and his penultimate appearance so far was an appearance as Inspector Anderson in the fantasy TV series The lost World. He quickly made his way into the big leagues just two years later.
1 Viggo Mortenson – Miami Vice (1984)
Actor Viggo Mortenson is a very versatile performer who takes on all the hallmarks of his roles no matter what they ask. He played a tough Master Chief in GI Jane, deranged psychopath Tex Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and a protective father in the post-apocalyptic coup The road.
However, most fans are probably unaware that one of Mortenson’s first roles was a stint on the classic 1980s TV series. Miami Vice,where he played Detective Eddie Trumbull in the episode “Red Tape”. It seems Hollywood is a small world after all.
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