NewsWire: Beatles Wanted to Do Rings Film in 1960s - Reuters

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - John Lennon wanted to play the grasping, thieving creature Gollum in a 1960s Beatles version of the "Lord of the Rings," New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson told Wellington's Evening Post newspaper.

Jackson, whose own version of the first book in the fantasy trilogy, "The Fellowship of the Ring" won four Oscars this week, told the newspaper that the Beatles plan fell flat when author J.R.R. Tolkien rejected the plan.

Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, who was to play the hero Frodo in the movie, told Jackson about the plans at the Academy Awards in Hollywood, the Post reported.

"It was something John was driving and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage but he didn't like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it," Jackson told the newspaper.

George Harrison was to play the wise wizard Gandalf who advises the hobbit Frodo in his quest to destroy the evil golden ring at the center of the epic tale of good versus evil, one of the most popular books of the 20th century.

Ringo Starr was to play Frodo's devoted sidekick Sam, while Lennon would take the part of the hobbit-like creature that tracks the heroes throughout the story, trying to get his hands on the powerful ring.

"There probably would've been some good songs coming off the album," Jackson said of the Beatles' plan.

Jackson is currently working on the second film of the trilogy for AOL Time Warner Inc's New Line Cinema.

"The Two Towers" is due out in December and the last film, "The Return of the King," will follow next year.

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