Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy might have been very different if James Corden had achieved his goal of being cast as Frodo’s best friend and confidant, Samwise Gamgee. Appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Corden confirmed a rumor that The Lord of the Rings was one of his first big-time auditions. Ultimately, the part went to Sean Astin, but Corden made it further into the casting process than one would assume.
When asked if the rumor about his audition was true, Corden said, “Yeah,” then added his audition was “not good.” According to Corden, “Every single person in London auditioned for ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Everybody. I auditioned for Samwise. I was doing it! The accent and everything! ‘Mr Frodo!’”
Corden was not alone when he auditioned for The Lord of the Rings. Two of his friends offered themselves as a tribute to the sprawling action-fantasy epic. Alas, none of them ended up making the cut.
“Two of my other friends went in,” Corden explained, “and we all got called back the next day, and then we got called back the next day. And then none of us got called back after that!”
After owning his failed attempt to land the role of Samwise, Corden was asked if the audition experience soured him on Samwise’s journey throughout the trilogy. “I enjoyed it until the last one, and then I was sort of like, ‘Oh, ok, I’ve seen this now — I should’ve gone to see ‘Love Actually,’” Corden said cheekily.
Despite losing the opportunity to play Samwise in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Corden’s acting career eventually flourished with parts in several films, including Into the Woods, Peter Rabbit, Trolls, Ocean’s 8, Yesterday, Cats, and more.
What do you think about Corden auditioning for the role of Samwise Gamgee? Would he have been suitable for the part? Would he have found a way to give Samwise a rousing musical number in the film? Something about potatoes? I can’t picture anyone except Astin in the role, though I would love to see Corden’s audition tape. Perhaps it will show up in our news feeds one day.