There's little question that Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films form one of the most epic and grand franchises in the history of cinema. To this day, each of the three installments hold up insanely well, as it's abundantly clear that everyone involved brought their A-game to the production. There's just a palpable intensity to every single performance. As it turns out, the cast brought that same level of intensity to their on-set pranks. Actor Dominic Monaghan explained:
Viggo conducted a long running head butting prank, which involved him head butting you quite violently. He almost knocked me out at my birthday party with a head butt. It continues to this day. When I saw him a few weeks ago the first thing I did was give him a good old-fashioned head butt.
I think he might be confusing the terms "prank" and "assault," but that's none of my business. During a recent Reddit AMA session, Dominic Monaghan addressed a particular fan question regarding fun on-set pranks conducted by his fellow Lord of the Rings stars. Apparently Viggo Mortensen became quite fond of viciously and violently head-butting his co-stars, to the point where he almost knocked Monaghan out. Aragorn may have used a giant sword as his trademark weapon during the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Viggo Mortensen could probably handle himself in a fight using nothing more than his cranium.
It seems that the pranking did not end with the conclusion of the trilogy at the end of Return of the King. Dominic Monaghan reportedly saw Viggo Mortensen quite recently, and (you guessed it) his first instinct was to deliver one of their trademark head-butts. That's what friends are supposed to do, right?
Check out a behind-the-scenes featurette from the Lord of the Rings in which most of the cast talks about how foolishly fond they all are of the practice:
I think we can all agree that the fondness with which they recall head-butting one another is nothing if not disconcerting. That being said, we cannot argue with their results.
One thing is absolutely certain: this adds a new layer of depth to the dynamic of the performers of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This story also confirms one other thing that I never thought I would have to learn: stay the hell away from Viggo Mortensen whenever he finds himself in the mood for a good, old-fashioned prank, otherwise you're going to get head smashed.