James Corden Auditioned For This Lord Of The Rings Role, And He Actually Would Have Been Perfect

James Corden on The Late Late Show
(Image credit: CBS)

It’s hard to imagine The Lord of the Rings movies with any of the alternate casting that almost took hold, like how Stuart Townsend originally had the role of Aragorn before Viggo Mortensen stepped in. However, some concepts might have worked out in the long run, despite the entire lineup being stellar. 

The most recent case to that point comes from The Late Late Show host James Corden, who admits he auditioned for Peter Jackson’s trilogy, and was up for the role of Samwise. The more I think about this, the more it could have actually been perfect. This is with all due respect to Sean Astin, who played the role of Samwise Gamgee in the stellar The Lord of the Rings cast

Best friend and supportive rock to Elijah Wood’s Frodo, the character is the sort of person you’d want to have around on both your brightest and darkest days. And as James Corden told Josh Horowitz over at Happy Sad Confused, not only did he audition for that very part, he seemed to get pretty far into consideration: 

Every single person in London auditioned for Lord Of The Rings. Everybody. I auditioned for Samwise. I was doing the accent and everything. … Two of my other friends went in [to audition] and then we all got called back the next day. Then we got called back the next day. And then none of us got called back after that.

At the time that these auditions took place, the James Corden we all know today didn’t exist. This opportunity was long before he’d hosted an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden, and it even predates one of his earliest successes as a member of the cast to the hit play The History Boys

So to have a young and fresh Corden playing the ever optimistic Sam could have been a special, star-making turn. Provided the actor could stand firm against Peter Jackson’s occasionally stoic but cutting criticisms, his variant of the role would have been the ultimate innocent in a time of great battle and sorrow. However, Sean Astin would win the role after all of the casting hoopla that almost saw other wild casting scenarios, like Sean Connery as Gandalf, come to life. 

While it was a long dormant brand at the time of its production, The Lord of the Rings was still a pretty hot property to be on the desk over at New Line Cinema. At that time, casting was key, and as we can see in the finished product, the casting choices were more than validated. 

History could have turned out way differently had James Corden landed this historic role. Then again, if The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power cast needs a Tom Bombadil in the future, Corden would definitely fit that bill to a tee. Even the actor’s detractors would have to agree, as much like the man himself, Mr. Bombadil is an upbeat character you either love or loathe. It's as if the universe has provided James Corden with another Hobbit sized door to walk through, provided that character factors into the new prequel series' plans.

Fans should prepare themselves, as The Late Late Show with James Corden ends in spring 2023. Though if you’re more into the Lord of the Rings side of this story, all you need return to Middle-Earth is a Prime Video subscription. Not only is the first season of Rings of Power available, but so are the complete Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, at the time of this writing. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.