The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies director Peter Jackson has revealed that Amazon did at one point ask for his expertise on adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic work with The Rings of Power, but eventually chose to go in a different direction – and failed to tell him they were doing so.
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Jackson revealed the backstory of his involvement with Amazon’s upcoming series in a pair of recent podcast appearances.
First appearing on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Jackson told host Scott Feinberg that Amazon “asked me if I wanted to be involved — [writer-producer Fran Walsh] and I — and I said, ‘That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script.’”
“So they said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we’ll send them to you,’” he detailed. “And the scripts never showed up. That’s the last thing I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all.”
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Later, joining THR writer Kim Masters on her The Business podcast, Jackson reiterated, “About four, five years ago, they asked if I would be interested in it. So I said, ‘Have you got the scripts yet?’”
“Because I know how hard the scripts were to write for the films, and I didn’t know the people writing their scripts,” the director explained. “They said, ‘Oh no, we haven’t got the scripts yet, but as soon as we do, we’ll send you the scripts.’ So I was waiting for the scripts to arrive, and they never did.”
Yet, despite this ‘ghosting’ by Amazon, Jackson said he would “still be watching” The Rings of Power.
“I’m not the sort of guy who wishes ill will,” he said. “Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.”
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Jackson’s recent recollections notably line-up with an interview he gave to The Metro in 2018, wherein he noted that “I don’t have thoughts on it because I haven’t seen [anything]’”.
“I wish them all the best and if we can help them we certainly will try,” he said. “It’s a big task.”
In response to Jackson’s claims, an Amazon Studios spokesperson told THR, “In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to watching The Rings of Power.”
However, according to THR’s sources, this is far from the full story, as in addition to these reasons, Amazon reportedly ceased communication with Jackson under specific direction from the Tolkien Estate.
As of writing, the specific reasons as to why the Estate wanted Jackson far away from The Rings of Power remain unknown.
Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hits Amazon Prime on September 2nd, 2022.
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