New Lord of the Rings Documentary Edited Without Director's Blessing

Costa Botes, the director who filmed over 800 hours of behind the scenes footage of the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is disappointed that New Line Cinema has made some edits and cuts to the new documentary (to be released on the special DVD editions of LOTR this year) of the films. Here's what Stuff.co.nz is reporting:

Botes, who was paid by New Line to make the films and would not get any royalties from DVD sales, said he was pleased the documentaries would soon be out. But he was unhappy he was not consulted about cuts.

"I had no opportunity to take part in this at all. They just shut me out completely. Once they figured out what they wanted to do, there was no opportunity to argue for any of the cuts and no opportunity to correct some really silly things that were done. It would have been nice to have been consulted because I could have actually finessed those things."

Scenes cut included extras dressed as orcs singing Stand By Me. Botes said New Line's reason was it did not want to pay for the rights to use the song. It also cut parts in which music was blaring from radios at Wellington special effects company Weta.

The Lord of the Rings made $4.7 billion at the box office.

Shots showing the top of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe, near where some filming took place, had also been removed. Botes said he was not aware of any agreement between New Line and iwi to not show the top of the volcanoes in his documentaries. "I can understand the Maori attitude to avoiding depiction of the peaks in the film ... but what have we come to?"

Botes said he understood why cuts had been made where cast and crew were swearing.

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