Imagine, if you will: a warrior man appears on screen with long, rustic hair and an adequate beard, resplendent but rugged in a coat of shining silver armor. His name is Aragorn, and as he swings his sword back to deal a deadly blow, the camera comes about so we can see his face. It’s Nicolas Cage. In a Lord of the Rings movie. Record scratch. That sounds almost as insane as the characters Cage often plays, but according to the actor, it almost happened.

While chatting with Newsweek, Cage revealed that he passed on the part of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. As he explains:

There were different things going on in my life at the time that precluded me from being able to travel and be away from home for three years.

A missed opportunity for Cage, but perhaps a sigh of relief for audiences as Viggo Mortensen felt very appropriate for the role, and Nicolas Cage is…well, he’s Nicolas Cage. He has a very particular set of skills, and I don’t think they include romping through Rivendell with hobbits and elven folk.

Cage went on to say that he’s actually OK with his decision because now he can enjoy the films without being distracted by himself:

But the thing is about those movies, I can watch them. I can enjoy them as an audience member. I don’t really watch my own movies. And so I genuinely do have the joy of watching these—especially with Lord of the Rings.

As for whether or not he regrets this decision, Cage says he doesn’t “really have any regrets.” Not even for Left Behind? What about The Wicker Man?

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