Irish actor Stuart Townsend (born 1972) was originally contracted to play Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy movie trilogy. He was replaced by Viggo Mortensen after just four days of shooting because director Peter Jackson felt that he was too young to convincingly portray the character.
In February of 2002, Townsend was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly about the experience:
"You were originally cast in "Lord of the Rings" as Aragorn, then Viggo Mortensen stepped in just before shooting began. What happened?"
Two weeks ago I finally read an article where the filmmakers said, "We were totally wrong about Stuart and we accept that it was our fault," which was so nice because I did get shafted up the a--. I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began. After that I was told they wouldn't pay me because I was in breach of contract due to not having worked long enough. I had been having a rough time with them, so I was almost relieved to be leaving until they told me I wouldn't be paid. I have no good feelings for those people in charge, I really don't. The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different.
- Entertainment Weekly interview with Stuart Townsend