James Corden Auditioned for ‘Lord of the Rings’ to Play Samwise: It Was ‘Not Good’

Samwise would be memorably played by Sean Astin in the critically acclaimed film trilogy.
James Corden, Sean Astin in "Lord of the Rings"
James Corden, Sean Astin in "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings" (2001)
Getty Images/Everett Collection

For many fans, the cast of Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy has come to define the iconic characters of J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic: Ian McKellen as the wise Gandalf the Grey, Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen as the dashing Legolas and Aragorn, and Sean Astin as the loyal, loving Samwise Gamgee. But Samwise could have been played by many different actors who auditioned for the films — among them James Corden, who spoke on the podcast “Happy Sad Confused” about trying out for the role.

Corden was asked about his audition by one of the hosts, and confirmed that it was one of his first tryouts for a Hollywood film while he was starting out as an actor, adding that it was “not good.”

“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 said on the podcast. “Two of my other friends went in. 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!”

When asking if his failed audition affected his enjoyment of the movies, Corden joked that it didn’t until the final film, which featured scenes he auditioned with.

“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.

Corden eventually achieved the international recognition “Lord of the Rings” might have offered when he began hosting CBS’ “The Late Late Show” in 2015, which he is set to leave next year. Although he hasn’t quite landed a fantasy epic like “Rings,” he’s also starred in films like “Cats,” “Into the Woods,” “Cinderella,” and “Ocean’s 8.” As for Astin, since his performance in “Lord of the Rings,” he has starred in Season 2 of Netflix sci-fi hit “Stranger Things” and appeared in films like “50 First Dates” and “Click.”

Listen to Corden’s interview on “Happy Sad Confused” below.


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