With all of the critical and commercial recognition that Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy of films has received, it is easy to lose sight of how impossible the project seemed when it was first filmed. Harvey Weinstein was still one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood at the time. When he brought Jackson on board to do Lord of the RingsThe project was designed as a two-film affair to keep costs down.
That was the version of for a long time Lord of the Rings that Jackson tried to use complete, ready-made scripts to write a two-part that would have cut the Fellowship of the Ring’s journey to Mordor considerably. In a recent statement published for Polygon, journalist Drew McWeeny recalled the time he was allowed to read the scripts for the two-film version of Peter Jackson Lord of the Ringsand how it would have been different from the trilogy we finally saw.
“What was the two-film version like? Most of what you love about the later trilogy. Philippa Boyens was featured as screenplay editor on the document, code-named” Jamboree. “(When it all moved to New Line Cinema, Sinclair, the studio that eventually became the trilogy, had disappeared, and Boyens was a full co-writer of the films.) These early drafts managed to incorporate most of the show’s key incidents, but without the character structure that defines the trilogy It felt like watching the later films at 1.5x the speed, all compressed and sped up. There were ideas that came up in an early form (Galadriel’s haunting narrative of the opening of Fellowship was originally written by Frodo in supplied slightly different form, e.g.), and the original cliffhanger took place on Emyn Muil Bluff after Sam, Frodo and Gollum had an encounter with the Nazgul. “
What is the trilogy? Lord of the Rings What’s special is that each character has room to breathe, talk and emote instead of being an inexorable step from one set of action pieces to the next. It seems that this sense of calm was lacking in the two-part version of the project Peter Jackson was originally attached. According to McWeeny, the main theme of the story stayed the same, but the characters became mere plot instruments of a generic action blockbuster.
“The bones for Jackson’s version were already in place, and this two-film version understood that Samwise Gamgee was the hero of the entire story, the main character whose journey ultimately dots things. There was more sung in these drafts, road songs, which felt right out of Tolkien’s text, but it all came in a clip. There was no time to actually enjoy the Shire, no room for Pippin and Merry to act as characters, and far less of the texture of Middle-earth. Us The Elves met in passing. There was recognition from Arwen and Aragorn, but no more. The main character who benefited from the expansion to three films was Gollum, who went from the plot tool to the fully realized character. More than anything else of the two -Film Every decision has been about turning them into more conventional blockbusters at the expense of the tight story and poetry that defines Tolkien’s work. “
Fortunately, Jackson managed to revoke the rights to the project from Weinstein and found a new home with New Line Cinema. He understood the density of the work Jackson was trying to adapt and encouraged him to take more time telling the story making it a trilogy. And so one of the most successful film adaptations of all time was born. Thanks to Polygon.
Subjects: Lord of the Rings