1. Nicolas Cage passed up the role of Aragorn because of “family obligations.”
2. Daniel Day-Lewis also turned down the role multiple times.
3. The same fight choreographer and fencer who worked on Lord of the Rings also worked on The Parent Trap and Star Wars.
4. And he said that Viggo Mortensen was “the best swordsman [he] ever trained.”
5. Mortensen did all of his own stunts and used a real steel sword while filming, rather than one made from aluminum and rubber like the rest of the cast.
6. Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Gandalf, but had never read the books and “didn’t understand the script.”
7. Connery was offered up to 15% of the film’s total box office receipts, which would have been about $400 million (more than any other actor has ever been paid for a single role).
8. Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords, played an unnamed elf in two of the films. Fans named his character Figwit, which stands for “Frodo Is Great…Who Is That?” He even has his own documentary.
9. Sean Bean is afraid of riding in helicopters, so he chose to take a ski lift in full Boromir costume and then walk the rest of the way to the set.
10. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had a tumultuous friendship in real life.
11. Tolkien typed all 1,200 pages of The Lord of the Rings with two fingers.
12. Samwise Gamgee’s daughter in The Return of the King is played by his real-life daughter, Alexandra.
13. Peter Jackson’s daughter has multiple cameos throughout the movies, such as a young Hobbit, a Helm’s Deep refugee, and a child in Minas Tirith.
14. Tolkien’s daughter has said she believes her father’s description of the Dead Marshes is actually a description of his experience in World War I.
15. Tolkien’s gravestone is engraved with “Beren,” and his wife’s with “Luthien,” after the love story of the mortal man and immortal elf-maiden.
16. Freshmen at University of California, Irvine, can opt to live in a dorm named Middle Earth, where the halls are named after towns or regions from Lord of the Rings.
17. John-Rhys Davies, the actor who plays Gimli, is also the voice of Man Ray on Spongebob Squarepants.
18. Merry was originally called “Marmaduke Brandybuck,” but thankfully Tolkein changed it.
19. In The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf had his big standoff scene with the Balrog, Ian McKellen was actually acting to a ping pong ball.
20. The mountains on Titan, Saturn’s moon, are named in honor of Tolkien’s work.
21. Back in the ’60s, the Beatles wanted to make a movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings, with Stanley Kubrick directing, but Tolkien killed the project.
22. Christopher Lee, the actor who plays Saruman, has recorded and released several metal albums. Including a Christmas album.
23. He’s also the only cast member to have met Tolkien. He met him by chance at a bar in Oxford.
24. Tolkien believed Sam was the “chief hero” of the story.
25. The queen of Denmark illustrated the Danish edition of The Lord of The Rings under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer.
26. While filming a fight scene, Viggo Mortensen chipped a tooth, went to the dentist during his lunch break, and then started shooting again the same day.
27. The Nazgul’s screeches were made by sound technicians scraping Target plastic cups together.
28. Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood never actually filmed a scene together in person.
29. If you stood all the chain mail made for the movie adaptations side by side, it would stretch more than 6 miles.
30. Andy Serkis said he based Gollum’s desperation and cravings on the withdrawal of heroin addicts.
31. The Battle of Helm’s Deep (The Battle of the Hornburg) took four months to shoot, all of it at night.
32. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Lord of the Rings in 1969 for £10,000.
33. About 18,000 costumes were created from scratch for the film’s trilogy, and between 30 and 40 of the same costume were created for each main character.
34. The Return of the King holds the record for highest movie body count, tallying in at 836 (not including animals).