The Lord of the Rings is 20 years old.  It was close, and Nicolas Cage was going to play in it, "Honey," Weinstein said.

Seventeen Oscars, three Films, more than seven years of work … Dec 10, 2001 – already 20 years ago!! The first part entered world cinemas.Lord of the rings” Directed by Peter Jackson. In Poland, we unfortunately had to wait for it, but all viewers and critics who watched the production outside our country claimed that it was a breakthrough in fantasy film adaptations.

Indeed, the scale of the project was puzzling. Already with the first part of “The Lords” visually, only “Star Wars” or “Jurassic World” could compete visually, however, there were two other films with big battles in front of viewers, which changed our expectations of how classic fantasy can be shown on the big screen . After The Lord of the Rings, other products suddenly found themselves in front of a very loud bar. But the road to this success was very bumpy – as always when huge sums of money are at stake.

Dead Brains fan Peter Jackson does an epic feat

Peter Jackson in front of “The Ruler” He was known for his funny and disgusting horror movies. He loved leaky brains, zombies eating people, and a broken spine. The more fake blood was poured on the group, the happier he was. He loved it, he did it well and very inexpensively – the audience loved his films, “Bad Taste” even gained cult status, as did “Brain Grunt”. But suddenly, in 1994, he got an ad and shot the movie “Heavenly Beings” with Kate Winslet. Mainly thanks to this production, he was able to deal with the “Lord” later. Without “Heavenly Beings,” an Academy Award nomination and extremely positive reviews, there would be no “Lord” as we know it.

“The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring” Foot. New Line Cinema

Jackson was incredibly lucky, and to some extent he was the head of the business. Until now, the director was not particularly respected as the creator of “serious” films, but he was considered resourceful. However, he took on new interests about their production. To meet the needs of the Celestial Beings, he brought to life with two friends from Weta Workshop, who bolstered the “Beings” with special effects – people from Weta were considered magicians, able to conjure something out of nothing, and had little money at their disposal. New companies were created in the following years, because Jackson had an appetite for more ambitious projects and faced a wall – the people who could help him in New Zealand were not “in one place”, and he did not go to Hollywood. In the end, he created his own empire there, handling production from the ground up. Good idea, but … in the absence of orders, no company will last long.

It’s quite obvious that Peter Jackson was having financial problems. The movie had Tolkien’s world on his mind for years, and “Heavenly Beings” opened the way for him to start talks with studios that could handle productions of the scale he dreamed of. He needed a blockbuster much bigger than “The Being” – one that would fund his companies. Together with his partner, Fran Walsh, he thought of the painting from Middle-earth, but all work on the possible scenario was reduced to the castrated force “The Lord of the Rings”. In the end, it became clear that instead of trying hard and making your own Date, must be done Detective The person who has not yet been dealt with in the representative copy. The Hobbit seemed perfect, but unfortunately the rights to The Hobbit were out of reach. So we chose the achievable ‘Lord of the Rings’ so far, and ‘Lord’ held the hand of Miramax and Harvey Weinstein. This is Harvey Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein gives but requires

Harvey Weinstein had low needs. First of all, he didn’t read “The Hobbit” or the trilogy – the idea for the movie came from Jackson in the form of pictures and, as it were, a concept stuck on plot after plot. Secondly, reduce potential costs – view three films, preferably only one. And third, in the late ’90s, he saw a very specific group of actors in his films – he could become his own Gandalf. Morgan Freeman (seriously), for the role of Aragorn, was considered the victor by Daniel Day-Lewis (the actor refused), and then by Nicolas Cage (he also happily declined), Later Russell Crowe (similar), also participated in the casting (without success) Vin Diesel. Plus, we now also know why Weinstein advised Jackson not to get involved in the Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd project – he was molested by the two women, which was revealed years later. There have also been proposals for very strong changes compared to the original book (much more powerful than those that were finally used in the movies).

'Lord of the rings'‘Lord of the rings’ Foot. New Line Cinema

Working with Weinstein and Miramax was difficult. Both sides could not agree on the length of production (Weinstein – preferably one movie, Jackson – at least two), in times of crisis, Jackson was threatened with removal altogether and handing over the work to someone else (Weinstein even threatened to hire Quentin Tarantino). It would be a disaster for the director, because theoretical work took so long (more than a year!), final decisions weren’t made, Weta Workshop wasn’t making any money, WingNut Films – another Jackson company founded specifically for “Lord of the Rings” – also loomed problems Finance.

Peter Jackson could not and did not want to step down, more solutions were offered – one movie, but four hours, two, a little cheaper, but still expensive. Stronger and more frustrated, Miramax threatened to revoke Jackson’s rights to work already done, setting new limits that were only crossed by hefty fines. Jackson was running out of options, and Weinstein grew angry – he considered himself a statement to every Hollywood director, and without his support, few people managed to succeed. The movie should have been his, but for some reason he couldn’t understand, Jackson wouldn’t kneel before him.

Peter Jackson has a lot of expected success

The director was looking for a way to protect himself and prevent Miramax from playing too hard and stealing the project from him. ‘Accidentally’ the script of the movie was leaked to the internet – parts of Jackson’s plans appeared on Ain’t It Cool’s website. Thanks to this, we know how many threads the producers wanted to change, but also how ambitious the director was. The internet at the time was uncharted territory for most people, including those in the film industry – Miramax didn’t care much about the leak, but it turned out to be Jackson’s ticket to escape persecution. Bob Shay also read excerpts from the script.

'Lord of the rings'‘Lord of the rings’ Foot. New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema turned out to be a bull’s-eye. Instead of looking primarily at the costs that would be incurred in making films, Bob Shay focused on the profits that would be generated by the production. Concept work was already ready and it was announced that “The Ruler” would be as epic as possible. In addition, one film was recognized not so little. Two options for New Line Cinema were a very poor choice, which the director recalls as follows:

After a week of postponing the meeting, which left us looking very busy, we finally arrived at New Line’s office. Director Bob Shay looked at the script and said, ‘You know what I don’t understand? Why do you want to make two films? We were convinced that the same talk now would be the same, and that he would try to convince us of one movie, the same thing again! But the next thing he said was, “Why do you make two movies when there are three books? Why don’t you make three?” Jackson revealed to Indiewire years ago.

So three films were selected, which means that many threads previously removed or compressed could come back in their favour, and compromises were forgotten (at least in part, because we will remember Glorfindel’s absence forever).

But of course problems continued to arise. Peter Jackson received $60 million for each part of the movie. In order to shorten the works as much as possible, shoot them all at the same time. It soon turned out that 60 million is not 60 million. Costs rose, work continued, and directors’ assistants received more calls from “concerned” investors. They were really calmed only at the Cannes festival, where the first 20 minutes of the film were shown in May 2001. Then it became clear that this project had no choice but to succeed and would bring a lot of money to everyone.

In the end, 1110 hours of material was shot, which was grouped into three films for about half a day (extended version). The number of “flavors” that appear in these products is incalculable (one of the best is the one in which Weinstein plays the title role – the appearance of the manufacturer was based on the mask of an orc – Gothamog, the captain of the Minas Siege of Tirith Which was confirmed by Elijah Wood not too long ago on the Dax Shepard podcast), and new items still appear, regardless of the time that has elapsed since the first show. More than 2,500 people were employed, and New Zealand became a mecca for Tolkien fans, which tourists still use (you can see Hobbiton with your own eyes not only in the film).

The Lord of the Rings was already an amazing success in the first part, but as a trilogy, it gave Peter Jackson forever freedom and a place in the pool of directors that Tolkien fans praised to heaven. And although 20 years have passed since the premieres of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” they have not aged a single day – what’s more, we can safely say that the Jackson trilogy She’s still alive, buzzing online and that’s not just because of the fact that we’re now impatiently (anxiously) waiting for the Amazon series. And that, remember, will debut on the Jeff Bezos podium in less than a year, in September 2022. Does he repeat the success of “Lord”? Personally, I hope that, at least in part, yes – twenty years of waiting for another such experience, which for me was the night premiere of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, in the middle of winter in one of the cinemas in Warsaw, very much . And you’ll always want more movies, series, books and games from Middle-earth.


  • “What almost looked like my original Peter Jackson movie Lord of the Rings,” Drew McQueeni,
  • “Peter Jackson’s LOTR was an unlikely miracle, and we are so lucky to have it,” Jim Furrell,
  • “The Lord of the Rings trilogy: A look back at a captivating gamble 20 years later,” Mike Fleming Jr.,
  • Middle-earth by the Numbers: From ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, Brendan Pettinger,
  • Additional material from the director’s collector’s edition of “The Lord of the Rings” on DVD, 2002, 2003 and 2004
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