the Lord of the RingsThe road to blockbuster movie stardom wasn’t all Kingsfoil and generous Hobbit breakfasts. Peter Jackson’s vision for the big world of JRR Tolkien was incredibly ambitious and a point of contention with the production studios that he tried to convince to let him bring the fantasy saga to life. However, one particularly controversial producer in the history of the saga lived in the film… well, perhaps appropriately.
Speaking to Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on Podcast chair this week (via Yahoo), Frodo Baggins himself, Elijah Wood, relied on a story told by compatriot Shirefolk about what sort of became the first the Lord of the Rings story podcast around, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd’s Onion Friendship.
This time, however, it wasn’t a Hobbit murder story the studio wanted. Wood spoke of a short story about Jackson’s strained relationship with Hollywood producer (and disgraced sex criminal) Harvey Weinstein, and how the bitterness between Jackson and Weinstein’s Miramax led to some hidden gagging in the movies.
“[Boyd and Monaghan] were telling Sean Astin about his first memory of arriving in New Zealand for the first time, he had seen those orc masks, ”Wood recalls. “And one of the orc masks – and I remember it very well – was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein like some kind of fuck off.”
Wood went on to note that it’s good to tell the story now, given Weinstein’s long history of sexual harassment and abuse of women over the course of his career, and as the actor, the disgraced producer is now “fucking incarceration”. But now you at least know that somewhere in Middle-earth one of Sauron’s minions is also running around with Weinstein’s face on.
Miramax originally signed with Jackson to develop the Lord of the Rings, having owned the rights to the book series in the first place. But the director’s relationship with Weinstein quickly deteriorated when Jackson announced his intention to turn Tolkien’s books into a trilogy, and Miramax began demanding that Jackson reduce his plans to two films or a single release. . Jackson and Weinstein’s relationship took a nosedive, and ultimately Miramax released Jackson in a tight turnaround to present his plan for the Lord of the Rings to other studios – where it was eventually picked up by New Line Cinema, which let Jackson do the trilogy he actually wanted to do.
Even though Weinstein’s link with the Lord of the Rings‘production ended there, it looks like his legacy with Middle-earth has lasted a bit longer. Well, depending on how long the poor actor with a Weinstein Orc face lasted in a fight scene, probably.