Director's original 'Rings' short under wraps - NewsWire: JAM Showbiz

Although director Peter Jackson has promised an expanded DVD release of "The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring," his most important work on the project may remain under wraps.

Variety reports that, when Jackson's planned adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic ran into trouble with original financiers Miramax, Jackson financed his own 30-minute, $50,000 film explaining his vision for the film.

That short film, which has only been seen by a handful of movie-industry insiders, proved to be decisive in getting the trilogy bankrolled, Variety said.

When Miramax balked at going forward with the film, they kicked the project back to Jackson, but on prohibitive terms. He had to repay the $12 million the studio had already spent on developing the film and forfeit 5% of the gross. He also had a mere three weeks to find a new backer.

Variety said Jackson returned to New Zealand and put together a summary of his film, narrated by himself. The short demonstrated special effects, displayed the armour and weapons created for the film, and used storyboards and actors' voices to convey key action scenes from the film.

"So here we are, 45 years after the publication of this book, where finally the technology has caught up to the incredible imagination that Tolkien injected into this story of his," Variety quoted Jackson's closing comments in the short. "This movie can be made".

The mini-movie must have worked beyond Jackson's dreams. New Line rejected the director's proposal to retell "Rings" as two films, and instead bankrolled a trilogy.

Variety said no decision has been made yet on whether Jackson's appeal will be available to the public.

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