Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger was keen on voicing Frodo in the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings. J. R. R. Tolkien's series of Middle-earth works have been considered immensely popular literary classics for many decades but it wasn't until Peter Jackson released his epic trilogy of movies that the likes of Frodo, Gandalf and Gollum became household names across the globe. After The Return of the King concluded the story in 2003, Jackson would go on to eke a further trilogy out of Tolkien's The Hobbit to markedly less critical acclaim.
While Jackson's films brought The Lord of the Rings more fame than ever before, not everyone knows that another version of the story was released in cinemas during the 1970s. Directed by Ralph Bakshi, the animated movie tackled the first half of the LOTR story and featured the likes of John Hurt and Anthony Daniels among its voice cast, however Bakshi has since admitted that the ambitious production took a significant toll on him. While a sequel was planned, an official follow-up was never released, despite the film proving to be a financial success.
In an interview with THR, Bakshi revealed exactly how different the animated adventures of Frodo and his Fellowship could have been. The director claims:
“So I get a call from Mick Jagger, he wanted to come up and see what we were doing on Rings. So I’m walking through the studio with Mick Jagger and the girls start to scream and faint. 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... 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. He’d be a pretty good Frodo, I guess. I don’t know.”
Jagger's interest in The Lord of the Rings may seem surprising at first, but Tolkien's books were incredibly popular within the music scene of the 60s and 70s. Infamously, The Beatles came close to developing their own movie adaptation of the story (in which Paul McCartney was to play Frodo) and Bakshi also revealed in his interview that Led Zeppelin, who penned several Tolkien-inspired tunes, were originally lined up to provide the soundtrack to his film. Only licensing issues prevented this dream partnership coming to pass.
Whether Jagger would have been successful as The Lord of the Rings' chief protagonist is another matter. Bakshi certainly sounds confident that the casting would've worked but Jagger, who is obviously not a vocal actor by trade, is well-known for a distinctive voice that exudes confidence, cockiness and flamboyancy - attributes one would struggle to apply to Frodo Baggins. As a result, Bakshi would've likely faced a sizeable dilemma if Jagger had been cast. The singer would need to drop his trademark drawl and deliver a virtually unrecognizable performance in order to properly play Frodo but no doubt the studio involved, United Artists, would've wanted to capitalize on the Stones' massive popularity and play up Jagger's involvement. Perhaps it's best for all concerned that this particular casting opportunity was missed.