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‘The Lord of the Rings’: Why The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger Didn’t Play Frodo in the 1978 Film

Ralph Bakshi directed the 1978 film 'The Lord of the Rings.' The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger wanted to play Frodo and caused animators at Bakshi's studio to go into a frenzy. Jagger tried to join the production after Frodo's lines were already recorded. The film was a success without him.

While the most famous screen version of The Lord of the Rings is Peter Jackson’s trilogy from the 2000s, there was also an animated version of The Lord of the Rings from 1978. The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger wanted to star as Frodo in the 1978 film. Despite Jagger’s best efforts, the famous director of the film had to turn down his offer.

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger with a microphone
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger | Evening Standard/Getty Images

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger spoke with the director of the 1978 version of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Ralph Bakshi is one of the most famous directors in the history of animation. In the 1970s, he earned a reputation as a provocateur for his controversial films Fritz the CatHeavy Traffic, and Coonskin. In the late 1970s, he started making films that were less inflammatory. One of these was The Lord of the Rings, which was based on two J. R. R. Tolkien novels: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jagger reached out to Bakshi during the production of the film. “So I get a call from Mick Jagger — he wanted to come up and see what we were doing on Rings,” Bakshi recalled. “[My studio on Hollywood and Vine] is full of college kids all graduated from art school, a very young group.”

Ralph Bakshi, director of 'The Lord of the Rings,' in front of a curtain
Ralph Bakshi | Angela Weiss/WireImage

The Rolling Stones’ frontman caused animators to go into a frenzy

Bakshi said people became hysterical when they knew Jagger was in the building. “So I’m walking through the studio with Mick Jagger and the girls start to scream and faint,” he said. “I had 2,200-3,000 people working on four floors, and the word spread to each floor that Jagger is walking around, and people got from one floor to the other through the staircase, and there was thunder like horsemen coming down, shaking the staircase.”

Bakshi said this was not a fun experience for his son. “My son was there for the summer and he was terrified — he hid in the bathroom,” Bakshi said. “So that was just hysterical. [Jagger] wanted to do the voice of Frodo. I told him I would have used him easily but I was already recorded and everything.”

Bakshi said Jagger might have been good in the role of Frodo, but he wasn’t sure. By that point, Jagger had done some acting. His most notable role was arguably in the 1970 drama Performance, where he played a rock star reminiscent of himself.


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Was the 1978 movie ‘The Lord of the Rings’ successful without Mick Jagger?

Even without Jagger, The Lord of the Rings was a hit. Box Office Mojo reports it earned over $600,000 during its opening weekend. It would go on to earn over $30 million. Box Office Mojo reports it ultimately became the 16th highest-grossing film of 1978, beating out other classic movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Days of Heaven, and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. The Lord of the Rings did not have a rock star in its cast, but audiences seemed interested in the world of Tolkien anyway.