Movies - TV
Peter Jackson Had His Own Battle During The Lord Of The Rings' Helm's Deep Scene
By SANDY SCHAEFER
Peter Jackson’s epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy had a combined budget of under $300 million and remains a visual achievement 20 years later. While the movies were hits, it’s easy to forget that New Line Cinema took a considerable risk funding them, as most of Jackson’s prior work had been on low-budget films.
New Line Cinema founder Robert Shaye admitted that the realization didn’t sink in until later, saying, “It suddenly struck me that this guy is making $50,000, $60,000 and $75,000 movies, cheap exploitation films, and we’re giving him $300 million dollars.” The project did go over its initial budget, causing some movie producers to become concerned, which Jackson admitted was “understandable.”
Shaye and the other executives wanted to rein in Jackson’s spending, so producer Barrie Osborne came in and “re-budgeted” the entire trilogy. This seemed to stabilize things until Jackson began shooting the immensely-complicated Helm’s Deep battle from “The Two Towers,” at which point New Line was “at their most angry with us in terms of the budget,” according to Jackson.
While filming the Helm's Deep scene, Jackson clashed with the late Michael Lynne, New Line’s then-president and chief operating officer. When Osborne approached Jackson with Lynne on the phone threatening to sue, Jackson snapped and said, “Just tell Michael Lynne that I’m shooting this f****** film and I’m doing the best job I can,” after which production went smoothly, and the trilogy became a massive success.