It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since we watched Gandalf and Frodo sail off into the Great Sea together (if you're not familiar with Middle Earth geography read this), but that milestone brings up an important question: Where are Lord of the Rings actors now? In all likelihood, the cast of Lord of the Rings probably don't need to be doing anything at all, with their finances almost certainly set for life, but of course most of them have remained in the limelight to varying degrees.
After being such a huge part of cinematic history, as LOTR popularized fantasy and adaptations like nothing before (even if some people had problems with the movies' loyalty to the books), it's difficult to imagine any of the actors from that beloved trilogy struggling to find work. Fortunately most of them haven't, but there is quite a discrepancy in the varied levels of success amongst the alum.
Here's a look at the Lord of the Rings cast then and now. Be warned, there's a spoiler for Stranger Things 2 in Sean Astin's entry.
Sir Ian McKellan had decades of acting under his belt before playing Gandalf. He got his start in theater but it wasn't long before he started landing movie roles and the rest is history. He's continued his stage career since LOTR, and has also continued his sci-fi career, playing Magneto in a couple X-Men movies before and after the Tolkien trilogy, and even reprising his role as Gandalf for The Hobbit trilogy. He brought a gravitas to the sci-fi genre that had been missing, especially in comic book adaptations. Though he doesn't need to continue working, he does, recently voicing Cogsworth in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.
In 2009, McKellan played Estragon in a London stage production of Waiting For Godot alongside Patrick Stewart. Speaking of Captain Picard, the two are the most adorable best of friends, tickling fans by constantly sharing their buddy exploits on social media.
#71 on The Coolest Actors Ever
More Ian McKellenPictures That Prove Patrick Stewart And Ian McKellan Are The Internet's Best BFFs The Best Ian McKellen Movies
Going into The Lord of the Rings, Blanchett was one of the biggest stars, having already won a Golden Globe as Queen Elizabeth in the eponymous film, for which she also received an Oscar nomination. She continued to amass awards and nominations after the trilogy, winning two Academy Awards, one for Supporting Actress in The Aviator, and one as a Leading Actress in Blue Jasmine. She's had no issues finding work: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Monuments Men, reprising her role in The Hobbit trilogy, Family Guy, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and of course, Thor: Ragnarok, to name a few.
Unlike most actors, Blanchett is in a long-term, successful marriage, having been married to playwright Andrew Upton since 1997. She's also an activist for a number of causes, and was named global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2016.
More Cate BlanchettThe Best Cate Blanchett Movies of All Time, Ranked Best to Worst
Although Viggo Mortensen had appeared in a couple big movies before Lord of the Rings (Psycho and G.I. Jane), his role as Aragorn was definitely his big break. Immediately after LOTR, Mortensen started getting lead roles in action movies thrown at him, with the family friendly Hidalgo first, followed by a couple decidedly not family friendly flicks, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Since then he's started to slowly transition to more traditional drama with the film adaptation of The Road being somewhere in the middle of the two genres, and more recently Captain Fantastic, a 2016 family drama for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor as Ben, a struggling father of six.
In his personal life, Mortensen is known for his linguistic capabilities, speaking Danish, English, French, and Spanish fluently, as well as being conversational in Italian, and can understand Norwegian and Swedish. He's also a huge hockey fan, specifically of the Montreal Canadiens, proving his love by wearing a Canadiens tee under his armor throughout the filming of LOTR. "It gave me just a little more power with the sword," he said, according to The Globe and Mail.
#47 on The Coolest Actors Ever
More Viggo MortensenThe Best Viggo Mortensen Movies
Elijah Wood had over a decade of acting work under his belt by the time he first appeared onscreen as Frodo Baggins, despite being just 20 when The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters. After the trilogy, he immediately hopped into indie films, most notably playing Patrick in the critically acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He's had consistent work ever since he got into acting, with a lot of his roles since LOTR being voice work, and many of those in video games. That said, he's continued to appear in movies, but more recently become known for his quirky TV shows, like Wilfred and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Basically, he's done it all.
Wood seems lelatively down to Earth as far as actors go, and downright miraculously stable by child actor standards. In 2012, Wood sold his nearly $2 million Santa Monica dwelling and bought a sub-$700k quaint home in Austin, Texas. See? Just a regular guy.
#14 on The Best Short Actors
More Elijah WoodThe 20+ Best Elijah Wood Movies of All Time, Ranked