From: Yahoo!

Saturday October 16 02:48 AM EDT

“Lord of the Rings” Cast Shuffle

Just a couple of days into shooting, the big-budget, big-screen version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is already minus a key cast member.

Stuart Townsend (All About Adam, Wonderland), cast as the hero Aragorn, has left the production, according to New Line Cinema, the studio behind the project. The official line is that Townsend quit over–you guessed it–“creative differences.”

While New Line refuses to say what went down, set scuttlebutt has it that either director Peter Jackson and Townsend didn’t agree about his portrayal, or Jackson just plain didn’t think the relatively unknown Towsend had the requisite star power to pull off the role of Aragorn, one of the film’s principals. “He just didn’t fit into the role,” a source close to the New Zealand-based production says.

Cast members have reportedly been supportive of the decision. No reshooting will be necessary, says New Line, because none of Townsend’s scenes have been filmed.

According to the Hollywood trades, Viggo Mortensen–whose résumé includes Psycho, G.I. Jane, A Perfect Murder and Portrait of a Lady–is in final negotiations to replace Townsend.

Not surprisingly, the quick cast change is already big news on the newsgroup. “I think looks-wise [Mortensen]’s better. He has a more rugged look than Townsend, who appeared to look like a young pretty boy,” one fan writes. Opines another: “Townsend is an idiot though for getting himself fired. Talk about blowing the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Meanwhile, the studio has dispelled rumors that Sean Connery, who was seen in the general vicinity of the shoot, will make any appearances in Rings. No official word on reports that Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke are up for the roles of Eowyn

and Faramir.

Confirmed cast members include Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler.

Thanks to: James T and Michael L for the tip!