Bakshi’s Gandalf walks the steps of Orthanc.
’70s Version of Lord of the Rings ‘Devastated’ Director Bakshi
FoxNews.com – July 7, 2000
Ralph Bakshi knows it’s not easy to translate Lord of the Rings to the big screen. He tried.
Now, 22 years after the release of his ill-received animated version, the director recalls the movie-making experience as filled with “terror.”
“The pressure doing the Rings for me was enormous. It nearly killed me,” Bakshi told FOXNews.com. “At the time I did it, I thought I failed.”
Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick and John Boorman reportedly all had visions of bringing the long and winding trilogy to the screen. But it was Bakshi, best known for 1972’s X-rated Fritz the Cat, who took the plunge.
Like director Peter Jackson, who is currently filming a live action version of the entire trilogy in New Zealand, Bakshi wanted to tell the story because he was a huge fan of author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Bakshi met with Tolkien’s daughter to discuss how the film would be made. He said she showed him the room where her father, who died in 1973, did his writing and drawing. “I had no idea that he had drawn,” Bakshi said. “For me it was a big emotional experience.
“My promise to Tolkien’s daughter was to be pure to the book,” Bakshi said. “I wasn’t going to say, ‘Hey, throw out Gollum and change these two characters.’ My job was to say, ‘This is what the genius said.'”
At Bakshi’s disposal was traditional matte painting — not the sophisticated computer-generated imaging being used in the new production. And he had less than $10 million with which to do it — more than 10 times less than Jackson’s budget.
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