The perils of a mortal life don’t just apply to the love between an Elf and a Dúnedain, but an actor and his horses.
Speaking to NME about his recent directorial debut Falling and his career—and discussing scenes that didn’t even make it into the extended editions of the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy—actor Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn, also briefly touched upon the equine pals he made on the set of the saga. Mortensen became so enamored with the horses he rode in The Two Towers and Return of the King, Uraeus and Kenny—who played Aragorn’s steeds Brego and Hasufel, respectively—that he ultimately purchased them after filming was completed, as well as Florian, the white Andalusian stallion that portrayed Arwen’s horse Asfaloth in Fellowship of the Ring.
Alas, at some point we all must diminish and pass on into the West, horses included.
“There were actually three horses that I bought, they were up for sale once the movies were done. There were the two I’d ridden–a chestnut and then the big bay that Aragorn rides–but I also bought the white horse that Arwen rides in The Fellowship Of The Ring when she’s being chased through the forest by the Black Riders,” Mortensen told NME. “The person who did that spectacular bit of riding was a stuntwoman who I ended up becoming friends with. I knew how much she liked that horse, so I bought it for her. That one is still around, but the other two have passed away. They were of a certain age already when we shooting and that’s 20 years ago now.”
And so, Brego and Hasufel are no more. This isn’t actually entirely new news that Mortensen is sharing—Uraeus passed in 2015, for example. But if you’re watching the trilogy again now that it’s available in 4K UHD and ever wonder what those horse got up to...sorry you are now burdened with the curse of knowledge, I guess.
As for that scene not included even in the extended editions of Peter Jackson’s film series, Mortensen described it as a memory. “It was from the courtship days when he first met Arwen – and we shot it just before we were taking a break so I was clean-shaven and prettied up. They’d tried to make me look as young as possible. I had different hair and I was dressed like an elf,” he said. “It was a scene from the book where they’re walking in this flowery meadow. It was a beautiful sequence but obviously it wasn’t needed for the movie. I’ve never seen it but I enjoyed shooting that scene.”
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