Report: Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy Was Leaked to get Harvey Weinstein Off the Project
By Movieguide® Staff
One of the most fantastic books-to-movie adaptations in history is Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved epic.
However, Jackson’s efforts to adapt the expansive story for the big screen resulted in a feud with former producer Harvey Weinstein, who pushed for a single movie.
Polygon writer Drew McWeeny alleged that as a result of the two movie moguls’ clash, Jackson leaked the original script for the series to attract other studios.
McWeeny called out Weinstein’s treatment of the source material and claimed that the producer was only willing to spend $75 million on the franchise in total, which he kept secret from Jackson.
Jackson began to feel as though the original two-movie format that they agreed upon was inadequate. According to McWeeny, the tipping point was when Weinstein asked that Jackson consolidate the entire epic into one four-hour movie.
As a result, Jackson reportedly leaked the script.
“The hope was that positive buzz created for the project on Ain’t It Cool News would be noticed and potentially save the project from the limitations Weinstein was enforcing. New Line Cinema was interested in taking on the project, and leaking the script to Ain’t It Cool News was an attempt to push the film toward that studio,” McWeeny wrote.
According to McWeeny, Jackson’s ploy worked after New Line Cinema obtained the movie’s rights and gave Jackson the green light to create the movie without parameters.
McWeeny concluded: “Between the two-script version, the theatrical trilogy, and the Extended Editions that were in production all the way through Return of the King’s historic Oscar win, Jackson shaped, reshaped, and re-reshaped this material while always managing to keep his eye on the things that make it resonate so loudly: the richly detailed sense that Middle-Earth is a real place with a real history, one that was worthy of all of the expense and effort of a full trilogy.”
THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy went on to win 17 Academy Awards across Jackson’s three movies.
In 2001, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING won the award for Best Film for Mature Audiences and was nominated for the Ephiphany Prize at the Movieguide® Awards.
In 2002, LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS was nominated as one of the Best Movies for Mature Audiences and in 2004 LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING won Best Film for Mature Audiences at the Movieguide® Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry.