Washington: Though most ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans can’t imagine another director than Peter Jackson at the helm, however, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had once threatened to replace him, suggests a new oral history of the blockbuster franchise.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a piece celebrating the 20 year anniversary of ‘Fellowship of the Ring’, a news outlet spoke to Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins, among others involved with the franchise including stars Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen.
At one point while discussing the films’ journey to the big screen, Kamins broached how Weinstein, who’s currently serving time for felony sex crimes, used threats of replacing the New Zealand-born filmmaker with Quentin Tarantino as a means of forcing Jackson to condense the project’s runtime.
“Harvey would go from acting empathetically to turning on a dime into Mr Hyde and would threaten Peter,” Kamins said of Weinstein’s mixed messages of support when it came to Jackson’s vision.
“He’d threaten to get Quentin Tarantino to direct if Peter couldn’t do it in one film that was two-and-a-half hours — which was the exact opposite of what he initially told us he wanted,” he added.
Development for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise began at Miramax, then run by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and was acquired as part of a first-look deal between Jackson and the producing brothers.
But when issues around the movie’s budget arose, tensions spilled over into conversations between Jackson and Weinstein. That’s when Kamins says the team shopped and successfully sold the film to New Line.
The Oscar-winning epic fantasy adventure ultimately spanned three instalments, with its first two films ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘The Two Towers’ clocking in at just under three hours before the final chapter, ‘The Return of the King’, ran at nearly three and a half.
In addition to issues with the runtime, early conversations around the franchise included a plan for just two, not three films, according to both Kamins and New Line Cinema producer Mark Ordesky.
“It was actually [New Line founder] Bob [Shea’s] idea to do three films instead of two.
The original pitch was to do two films and Bob goes ‘there’s three books, why are you only making two films?'” Kamins said, as per The Hollywood Reporter.