Fun Fact: Quentin Tarantino Almost Directed ‘The Lord Of The Rings’
— 3 August 2023

Fun Fact: Quentin Tarantino Almost Directed ‘The Lord Of The Rings’

— 3 August 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Given the Academy Award-winning success of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings — and how familiar we are with the billion-dollar blockbuster trilogy’s dimensions in present day — the very idea of the franchise being executed in any other way seems completely alien (and downright inconceivable). But once upon a time, the world was staring down to the barrel of a single, abridged Lords of the Rings film directed by Quentin Tarantino.

After making a name for himself with the psychological drama Heavenly Creatures starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, Jackson had been contracted with Miramax, then helmed by the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Effectively, this meant the Disney-owned production and distribution company would have first rights to any screen-related idea the New Zealand filmmaker had.

And at the time, it seemed like the stars had aligned for the man to finally make The Lord of the Rings under the Miramax banner. Weinstein had just “rescued” Saul Zaentz’s production of The English Patient; the latter of whom held the screen rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien novels, so there was a favour to be called upon.

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“I remember Peter vividly telling me that the reason Lord of the Rings could get made was because technology had finally caught up with Tolkien’s imagination,” recalled Ken Kamins, Jackson’s manager (via The Independent).

“Harvey was excited. We found that very encouraging and thought we’d have room to tell the stories, only we weren’t paying attention to the political dynamic between Miramax and Disney.”

Considering the sheer scale and scope of the Tolkienverse, Peter Jackson realised his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings would require three films to do the lore justice, albeit slightly different to the eventual trilogy committed to celluloid: the first instalment based on The Hobbit, then a two-parter for The Lord of the Rings — shot consecutively and released six months apart.

A compelling pitch, for sure, but not one Disney was super chill with.

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Kamins continued: “Disney had set a budget cap on Miramax and Lord of the Rings was well in excess of what they could greenlight on their own. When Disney realised the budget and that we were going to shoot the films back-to-back, and the director was not exactly an A-list name… they made it very clear they were not on board.”

“So then begun the very tortured process of Harvey not wanting to admit to the Disney pushback and then at the same time saying to Peter, ‘This is what you have to do.'”

At one stage, Bob Weinstein (brother of Harvey) even suggested they “kill” three of the Hobbits; the relationship between Peter Jackson and Miramax soured shortly thereafter.

“Harvey would go from acting empathetically to turning on a dime into Mr Hyde and would threaten Peter. He’d threaten to get Quentin Tarantino to direct if Peter couldn’t do it in one film that was two-and-a-half-hours — which was the exact opposite of what he initially told us he wanted.”

Fun Fact: Quentin Tarantino Almost Directed 'The Lord Of The Rings'

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Tarantino was, of course, Miramax’s poster boy at the time, having been attached to Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction (which was nominated for Best Picture at the 1995 Academy Awards), and Jackie Brown, with the first Kill Bill on the way. The relationship was as close to perfect as you could get in this industry.

Unwilling to compromise his golden vision, nor surrender this dream project to Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson abandoned ship and optioned The Lord of the Rings to New Line Cinema. CEO Robert Shaye happily gave the Kiwi battler the green light for a reworked trilogy, and was rewarded by an embarrassment of riches/accolades for it.

As a final f**k you to Harvey Weinstein, who is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for multiple counts of rape and sexual assault, Jackson actually modelled an Orc after the repugnant Hollywood power player… who still managed to serve as an executive producer alongside his brother Bob and New Line Cinema’s Mark Ordesky. Now that’s brave.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]