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'Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring': Where Are They Now?
J.R.R. Tolkien's high fantasy epic The Hobbit was first published in 1937, and although it launched the exciting and adventure-packed The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it took nearly half a century for the characters to be adapted into film. Peter Jackson's 2001 movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is widely considered a landmark achievement in fantasy filmmaking, receiving widespread critical acclaim and inspiring two sequels and a prequel trilogy. Along with bringing Tolkien's books to life, the films also launched its cast into superstardom — even those actors already famous before The Fellowship of the Ring gained a large, new fanbase because of their roles. Take a look at what these actors have been up to outside of Middle Earth.
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Elijah Wood had already found success as a child actor before The Lord of the Rings, but it was his lead role as the hobbit Frodo in the saga that launched him into stardom. Since then, Wood has landed major roles in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Happy Feet, and Green Street Hooligans. Wood has also recently led successful TV series, starring in the quirky comedy Wilfred and the Emmy-winning miniseries Over the Garden Wall.
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Sean Astin was a recognized name in the film industry long before he took the role of ever-loyal Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. As a young actor, Astin helmed the adventure comedy classic The Goonies and the beloved football film Rudy. Astin has had no shortage of work since starring in The Lord of the Rings: among other projects, he's appeared in some Adam Sandler films like 50 First Dates and Click and nabbed a recurring role on 24. Currently, Astin stars in the FX horror series The Strain, voices Raphael on Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and still appears in films.
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Sir Ian McKellen has had one of the most prolific careers of any actor. Beginning as a stage performer, McKellen went on to receive international fame for his various big-screen roles. To many, though, he is perhaps best known for his gravitas-filled roles in fantasy films, such as Magneto in the X-Men franchise and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. McKellen currently stars in the British sitcom Vicious, and will be playing the fussy clock Cogsworth in the upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast film. Oh, and he's also constantly winning everyone's hearts by being besties with Patrick Stewart.
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Orlando Bloom is a household name now, but he was a relative unknown before taking the part of elven archer Legolas in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Since the film, Bloom has gone on to star in many movies, like Elizabethtown and Troy, and has also found himself in a leading role of another successful franchise: The Pirates of the Caribbean.
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Cate Blanchett was already reeling in major awards before portraying the royal elf Galadriel in The Lord of The Rings. Since the role, she hasn't stopped receiving accolades. Most recently, Blanchett was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Carol, and is planning to make her Broadway debut later in 2016.
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Though he had appeared in films like Psycho and G.I. Jane beforehand, Viggo Mortensen's big break to an international audience was his role as brave leader Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Mortensen has gone on to star in gritty drama films like The Road and A History of Violence. In 2016, Mortensen will star in Captain Fantastic, a movie about a father reintegrating himself into society after living in the wilderness for years.
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One of Sean Bean's many characters to get killed onscreen is Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. It's a trend that would continue in many of his roles, most famously culminating in his portrayal of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. Though his characters may die, Bean's reputation as an actor lives on stronger than ever — he's most recently starred in Oscar-nominated The Martian and the two-season spy series Legends.
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Already a recognizable actress thanks to '90s films like Armageddon and Empire Records, Liv Tyler grew her fanbase much more by taking the role of Arwen in The Lord of the Rings. Tyler has gone on to star in The Incredible Hulk and most recently in the TV series The Leftovers.
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Before The Lord of the Rings, Dominic Monaghan had a few television roles in the U.K., but his career blew up after accepting the role of the hobbit Merry. Following the international attention from his Lord of the Rings role, Monaghan took regular gigs on major television series, such as Lost and Flashforward. He currently stars in the video game/television series mixture Quantum Break.
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Billy Boyd's first major film role was that of Pippin in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In the story, Pippin is best friends with Merry, and that relationship actually mirrors Boyd's actual friendship with Merry actor Dominic Monaghan. Boyd has acted in films and television steadily since, and also started the band Beecake, which he fronts. Boyd wrote and performed a song for the final The Hobbit film in 2014, called "The Last Goodbye," which plays over the end credits of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
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John Rhys-Davies has a seemingly endless string of acting credits stretching back to the mid-'60s, but most of his fans probably know him mainly as the warrior dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings saga. Rhys-Davies did have some memorable roles prior to Gimli, such as the jovial Egyptian excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films and a voice actor on various Warner Brothers children's cartoons. Since The Lord of the Rings, Rhys-Davies has continued to add to his extensive acting and voice work. Most recently, he voiced a recurring character on Once Upon a Time and currently stars on The Shannara Chronicles.
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Sir Christopher Lee has been in so many major films that every generation probably knows him as a different iconic character. He first gained attention for playing Count Dracula in various films throughout the '50s, '60s, and '70s. He also played the villainous Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun and Lord Summerisle in the critically praised horror film The Wicker Man. In the early 2000s, Lee gained a ton of new fans by playing magic-wielding villains in huge fantasy franchises — Sarumon in The Lord of the Rings and Count Dooku in Star Wars. After The Lord of the Rings, Lee starred in a number of Tim Burton films, and began releasing heavy metal songs. Lee died of heart failure in 2015.
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Hugo Weaving had already found film success before playing the elven lord Elrond in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He made a name for himself in the '90s for major roles in movies like The Matrix, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Babe. He continued to star in major movies after playing Elrond, appearing in V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas, and Captain America: The First Avenger.
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Ian Holm came into the Lord of the Rings movies as an award-winning veteran actor of stage and screen. The English performer won the 1967 Tony for Best Featured Actor for his performance in The Homecoming, and the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of King Lear. Holm added Bilbo Baggins to his list of iconic film roles, such as Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire, Ash in Alien, and Father Vito Cornelius in The Fifth Element. Holm has continued to act in major films alongside his role of the elderly Bilbo, with featured parts in Garden State, The Aviator, and Ratatouille.
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Andy Serkis' role in The Lord of the Rings as Gollum, a former hobbit wracked with obsession, helped start his prolific career as the go-to motion capture actor in Hollywood. Since then, he's become a giant gorilla in 2005's King Kong, an animated sea captain in The Adventure of Tintin, and another gorilla in The Planet of the Apes. He's also appeared as himself in some films, such as The Prestige and 13 Going on 30. Serkis recently appeared as the villainous Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is filming another Planet of the Apes movie, and playing Baloo in Jungle Book: Origins.