In its “Coming Soon” feature, FilmFour.com takes a look at the film trilogy. Here is an excerpt:
Peter Jackson took quite a challenge when he began production of The Lord Of The Rings films. But with an open attitude, a strong cast that includes Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett, and ideal locations in his native New Zealand, things are looking promising for Fellowship Of The Ring and its sequels
There are good reasons to make a film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings. The book is a perennial bestseller, voted the 20th Century’s best in both Waterstone’s and Amazon.com polls. Its fanbase set records by downloading the first trailer for the opening part of the trilogy (The Fellowship Of The Ring – due in December) 1.7 million times the day it appeared on the net. And Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 adaptation is largely forgotten.
There are also good reasons not make a film version. Bestselling books with dense mythologies have an unhappy cinematic history: think Dune, or worse still, Battlefield Earth.
Disney held the rights to Tolkien’s tome in the late 50s; Stanley Kubrick and John Boorman were both unsuccessful in their attempts to adapt it. Even Bakshi’s effective animated version was left open-ended, comprising narrative taken from only the first two parts of Tolkien’s trilogy.
It is telling the most popular movie fantasy, Star Wars, was conceived for the screen.
It was decided that The Lord Of The Rings would need to be three films, conforming (more or less) to the three volumes of the book: Fellowship Of The Rings, The Two Towers – planned for Christmas 2002 and The Return Of The King – Christmas 2003.
No wonder Miramax, having developed the project with director Peter Jackson, passed on the film.
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