We’re always surprised to find something we didn’t already know about John Lennon. The iconic figure of the Spectacled Beatle has been so relentlessly trampled down that it is unimaginable that a stone has not been turned over.
The latest in the “Can’t Believe I Didn’t Know This About John Lennon” series wasn’t just his fondness for 2001: A Space Odysseyby director Stanley Kubrick but his request to the filmmaker to make a screen adaptation of the novel by JRR Tolkien The Lord of the Rings with Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Yes, in what could have been one of the most surreal sets of circumstances, Lennon was very keen to enlist the services of famed director Kubrick on a quest through Middle-earth with the Fab Four. As Metro reports, the singer contacted the director to inquire about his availability. No wonder either. Kubrick is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and although he has only released 13 feature films, he has been etched in the cinema’s wall of fame after working on films like The shiny, A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, Dr Strangelove and more. The latter would star Peter Sellers, who also had a curious relationship with the Beatles, lending his main character to a special performance.
Kubrick’s former right-hand man Leon Vitali recently released a documentary about his career Filmmaker and spoke to Subway on the curious event. Vitali met the director during his casting in his film Barry lyndon but put his acting career aside when offered the opportunity to work so closely with Kubrick. This meant that Vitali was aware of the day-to-day activities of the legendary director.
One such rumor Vitali was able to confirm was Liverpudlian Lennon’s offer to have Kubrick lead The Beatles in an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. ” It was true. It was true ”, was Vitali’s categorical response to our wildest dreams. “They came to Stanley’s office to talk about it. I don’t think that idea was quite in Stanley Kubrick’s stadium. Yes, this is something they invented.
He continued, “But it didn’t go very, very far at all. It was just an exchange of information and people were interested in doing it. But Stanley was not. Let’s put it that way. Vitali confirms that rather than the whole group, the idea was largely Lennon’s.
“The person behind it was Lennon. John Lennon. He was crazy about this story, and he was crazy about 2001. He said he would watch 2001 sometimes once a week. He was so fascinated by it. I can see why he would have connected the dots. I’m sure there are many ways to approach a topic like The Lord of the Rings. Lennon could have seen it as some kind of futuristic project. Or thought that the large scale of 2001 would have been necessary to make a film on The Hobbit and that kind of kind. It’s interesting.”
It certainly is. Had Lennon’s legendary vision suddenly entered cinema, spotting Tolekin’s story for the cinematic gem it would later turn out to be? It seems he saw something in the story that others hadn’t yet and was ready to take the leap, even though it was a few decades before Tolkien’s fascination wore on. ‘applies to the big screen.
As good or bad as you think Peter Jackson’s telling of Tolkien’s story may be, it’s hard not to agree that a presentation of The Beatles would have been more interesting.