Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth franchise has employed some of the best actors in the business, from classically trained, Shakespearian thespians to blockbuster superstars. We’d like to think all of them are absolute sweethearts, but this is show business, baby, and sometimes it lets you down.

Actors frequently draw on their real life personas as international superstars to build their characters, though this is a little harder to do when you’re working within a sprawling fantasy sandbox like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. It’s a little harder to find inspiration in real-life experiences when you’re portraying a hobbit, elf or wizard.

Thanks to their fantastical roles, as well as layers upon layers of insane makeup and intricate costuming, many of the actors in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are further from their true selves as they’ve ever been. That’s without even mentioning the likes of Andy Serkis and Benedict Cumberbatch, whose physical features are hidden just as much as their real personalities by revolutionary CGI and motion capture.

After Peter Jackson broke his promises and studio demands, it led to The Hobbit being stretched to three tiresomely long epics. There probably wasn’t a sweetheart left on set by the time The Battle of the Five Armies wrapped production. Thankfully, the overstayed franchise has wrapped for the time being, and the actors can breathe a big sigh of relief and go back to being sweethearts and heartthrobs. Or perhaps not.

Here are 12 Lord Of The Rings Actors Who Are Legitimate Sweethearts (And 9 Who Aren’t).

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