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Top 10 Surprising Roles by Lord of the Rings Actors

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Sean Harris It’s one role to rule them all, one role to shock them. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 surprising roles by “Lord of the Rings” actors! For this list, we’ve gathered the most unexpected acting roles by the cast of “The Lord of the Rings”, from both before and after their work on the Middle Earth epic. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Surprising Roles by Lord of the Rings Actors


It’s one role to rule them all, one role to shock them. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 surprising roles by “Lord of the Rings” actors!

For this list, we’ve gathered the most unexpected acting roles by the cast of “The Lord of the Rings”, from both before and after their work on the Middle Earth epic.

#10: Andy Serkis as Ian Dury
“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” (2010)


He’s a CGI star in movies like “King Kong”, “Star Wars” and “Planet of the Apes”, but there’s way more to Andy Serkis than just motion capture characters. The Gollum actor was BAFTA nominated for playing Moors Murderer Ian Brady in “Longford”, but we’ve picked out his performance as Ian Dury, in a 2010 biopic for the one-of-a-kind rock ‘n’ roller. Serkis strikes exactly the right chord, showcasing Dury’s maverick edge for an inventive look at the musician’s incredible life story.

#9: Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud
“A Dangerous Method” (2011)


After Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen became a mid-2000s shoo-in for hardened hero roles, but he’s avoided becoming typecast by regularly mixing it up. Special mention for his hard-hitting turn as the reluctant Nazi John Halder in “Good”, but he burrows even deeper into the human psyche as renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud, in “A Dangerous Method”. Exploring an increasingly fraught relationship between Freud and fellow psychoanalyst Carl Jung – played by Michael Fassbender – Mortensen bagged Golden Globe and Satellite Award nominations for his efforts.

#8: Ian McKellen as Cogsworth
“Beauty and the Beast” (2017)


As one of the UK’s most celebrated Shakespearean actors, we’re used to seeing Ian McKellen make light work of intense and iconic roles. His twenty-first century output is dominated by recurring parts as Gandalf and Magneto, but then came Cogsworth – as McKellen brilliantly bucks the trend. Voicing an anthropomorphic pendulum clock for Disney’s blockbuster live action remake, McKellen joins the likes of Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson as part of an exceptionally fine supporting cast. The Balrog suddenly seems a long time ago

#7: Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)


Few “Lord of the Rings” characters deserve quite as much contempt as the slippery Gríma Wormtongue, and actor Brad Dourif is a well-versed villain, given his recurring role as the crazed killer doll, Chucky. But Brad’s big break came in 1975, when he played an altogether different character; Billy Bibbit. As one of many patients ruthlessly manipulated by the heartless Nurse Ratched, Billy’s plight becomes an eye-opening and ultimately tragic tale – and Dourif deservedly won critical acclaim for his efforts.

#6: Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn
“I’m Not There” (2007)


Galadriel actress Cate Blanchett is well known for welcoming wide and diverse roles, and she broke new boundaries for this film. As part of an ensemble cast, she plays one of six characters inspired by Bob Dylan. Jude Quinn embodies mid-60s Dylan, as he carves his own niche into popular music. Quinn’s is a story of struggle, and Blanchett strikes a spot-on balance between aspiring musician and vulnerable performer. The times they were a-changin’, but Cate takes it all in her stride.

#5: John Rhys-Davies as Viscount Mabrey
“The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” (2004)


Tossed into today’s top five, Gimli actor John Rhys-Davies quickly moved on from Middle Earth to play the principal bad guy in this teen rom-com sequel. And as Mabrey does his best to scupper Anne Hathaway’s royal romance, it’s hard not to mentally envisage the Viscount sporting Gimli’s gruff facial hair. The film, which also boasts an early Chris Pine performance, proved a commercial success but critical failure. For a better-received Rhys-Davies supporting role, look no further than “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – where he plays Indy’s accomplice, Sallah

#4: Hugo Weaving as Red Skull
“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)


This guy has played the villain before, and we’ve seen him in classic comic book roles, but Hugo Weaving as Red Skull still caught plenty of fans by surprise at first. The award-winning actor made the role his own, of course, as Captain America’s deadly and discoloured archenemy. But Red Skull’s manic and unhealthy obsession with the Tesseract is a far cry from Elrond’s wise and measured approach to the One Ring. Rivendell would simply never stand for this.

#3: Billy Boyd as Anton
“Space Milkshake” (2012)


Strange sci-fi projects seem something of a shared interest for “Lord of the Rings” actors, with Sean Astin starring opposite Vinnie Jones in 2005’s “Slipstream”, and Liv Tyler taking on 2014’s “Space Station 76”. But Billy Boyd’s is the most unexpected of the lot, if only for its off-the-wall storyline. “Space Milkshake” sees Boyd play an astronaut of the future who, with the help of his friends, has to wage war against a massive, mutant rubber duck. Yes, you heard that correctly. Pippin’s definitely not in the Shire anymore.

#2: Dominic Monaghan as Seth
“Pet” (2016)


Where Pippin goes, Merry usually follows. Dominic Monaghan’s up next, but there’s a dramatic change of mood. As Merry Brandybuck, Monaghan was a picture of positivity. Here, he’s the polar opposite. As shy sociopath Seth, he develops a dangerous obsession with a local waitress, which eventually results in kidnap, killing and torture. But is Seth all to blame? Packed with plot twists, “Pet” brings a barrage of bloodlust plus unanswered questions to mess with your mind. It’s the squeamish stuff of nightmares.

#1: Elijah Wood as Kevin
“Sin City” (2005)


After achieving international fame as the ring-bearing Hobbit hero Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood might’ve been typecast into loveable underdog roles for the rest of his life. But Wood has since smashed the stereotype. He’s played a football hooligan in “Green Street” and a madman murderer in “Maniac”, but we’ll finish with his role as a cannibalistic serial killer in “Sin City”. For the acclaimed adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Wood escapes any pint-sized preconceptions by turning into an all-out psycho who meets a very grisly end. Sam would be most disappointed
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