Hobbit guts exploding onto the screen! Violent S&M elf orgies! Gandalf and Aragon getting into a drunken fist fight!
It’s not the Lord of the Rings we eventually got, but it turns out the epic, incredibly successful franchise directed by Peter Jackson could have been a very different film – directed by gore-enthusiast Quentin Tarantino.
This is just one revelation from a new book called Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson & The Making of Middle-Earth by British film writer Ian Nathan.
In the book, Nathan reveals now-disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein threatened to replace Jackson with Tarantino if he didn’t agree to his vision of turning Tolkien’s book into a single two-hour film.
Weinstein, whose film company Miramax was overseeing the movie’s development at the time, thought Jackson had “wasted” $12 million in producing a two-movie script.
Weinstein, of course, turned out to be very wrong. Lord of the Rings went on the become one of the most commercial successful franchises of all time and won 17 Academy Awards.
“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 producer who worked for Weinstein on the project, told the author.
Jackson said he received a memo in 1998 from Miramax executive Jack Lechner detailing “a more radical, streamlined approach” for the film.
This reportedly would have meant cutting the Helm’s Deep valley scene, getting rid of the Balrog and potentially even giving Saruman the chop, according to Stuff.
All of these moments and characters are, quite frankly, essential and we are very pleased they made it into the film. Christopher Lee’s Saruman has become one of the all-time great movie villains and the “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Balrog scene is one of the highlights of the entire franchise.
Having said that, we’re sure Tarantino would have made an awesome/disgustingly bloody film, just not one anything like Jackson’s classic.
But that’s not where Weinstein’s influence ended with Lord of the Rings. This week, actress Ashley Judd launched a lawsuit against the former movie mogul alleging that he deterred Peter Jackson from casting her in the film – something the director has confirmed.
A representative for Weinstein denied the allegations, according to CNN.
(Images: New Line Cinema / Getty)