Tarantino Lord of the Rings

A new book detailing Peter Jackson‘s epic quest to bring The Lord of the Rings to the big screen has revealed that, at one point, producer Harvey Weinstein threatened to fire Jackson and replace the filmmaker with Quentin Tarantino.

A Tarantino Lord of the Rings movie? It could’ve happened, if Harvey Weinstein had had his way. In his new book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-earth, writer Ian Nathan reveals that while Peter Jackson was trying to get his Lord of the Rings movies made, infamous and now disgraced executive producer Harvey Weinstein threatened to fire Jackson and replace him with Quentin Tarantino.

Per Nathan’s book (and The Stuff), Weinstein hated the idea of splitting Lord of the Rings into multiple films. Weinstein wanted Jackson to streamline it all into one film. If Jackson failed to do that, Weinstein threatened to fire him from the project and replace him with Tarantino or John Madden, the director of Shakespeare in Love:

“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 fellow producer called in by Weinstein to assist on the project, told Nathan.

Jackson himself recalled receiving a memo dated June 17, 1998 from the Miramax (the Weinstein’s production company) development head Jack Lechner at his New York hotel, which detailed what Nathan describes in the book as “a more radical, streamlined approach”, which would enable the story to be told in a single movie. Helm’s Deep would be cut, Eowyn would replace Faramir as Boromir’s sister, the Balrog would disappear and even Saruman’s fate was in the balance.

“It was literally guaranteed to disappoint every single person that has read that book,” Jackson says in Nathan’s book. Ultimately, Jackson won out. Harvey Weinstein, and his brother Bob, eventually sold the Lord of the Rings rights to New Line Cinema, who were much more amenable to Jackson’s ideas.

Jackson has spoken in the past of his difficulties working with the Weinsteins during the early days of Lord of the Rings. Last year, Jackson claimed that Weinstein actively blocked Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino – two women who would later accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct – from being cast in the film.

We’re all better off with Jackson having won out and made the Lord of the Rings films he wanted to make. And to hell with Harvey Weinstein forever. That said, I can’t help but wonder just what a Tarantino-directed Lord of the Rings film would even look like. Of course, there’s no indication Tarantino would have even done the film, or was even aware of Weinstein’s threats. Yet the mind reels trying to picture Lord of the Rings condensed into one film helmed by Quentin Tarantino.

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