In retrospect, it’s clear Lord of the Rings played a big part in paving the way for modern, serialized blockbuster movies. All three films were an event and showed that a continuing, coherent story could not only succeed in theaters, but be massive critical and commercial successes. All of that is due to Peter Jackson’s tireless efforts and years of dedication to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which he was nearly replaced by Quentin Tarantino, thanks to Harvey Weinstein.
This comes from new book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-earth, which describes Weinstein as a producer who wanted just one, big movie. He didn’t want to split the epic story into multiple, cash-generating films. Here’s a snippet from the book, via SlashFilm:
“Harvey was like, ‘you’re either doing this or you’re not. You’re out’. And I got Quentin ready to direct it’,” Ken Kamins, a fellow producer called in by Weinstein to assist on the project, told Nathan.
Jackson himself recalled receiving a memo dated June 17, 1998 from the Miramax (the Weinstein’s production company) development head Jack Lechner at his New York hotel, which detailed what Nathan describes in the book as “a more radical, streamlined approach”, which would enable the story to be told in a single movie. Helm’s Deep would be cut, Eowyn would replace Faramir as Boromir’s sister, the Balrog would disappear and even Saruman’s fate was in the balance.
So in other words, it sounds like a weak adaptation that would’ve maybe made some money and then be forgotten about until the TV division of a discount retailer granted the property a billion dollars to make it even longer. That’s actually happening now with Amazon, but you’re following along. In the end, the Weinstein’s sold the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic to New Line Cinema, they listened to Jackson, and Weinstein…
Still, the thought of a QT-led LOTR movie doesn’t sound entirely uninteresting. It would probably be rated R and feature the hobbits getting pedantic about tipping while they smoked pipe-weed.