Saul Zaentz in Toronto in November 1996.
Mike Cassese, Toronto Sun
Here is an excerpt:
Through his production company, Zaentz owns the film rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, stemming back to the mid-’70s and Ralph Bakshi’s subsequent 1978 animated film.
Without his approval, the three films that Kiwi director Peter Jackson is now working on would never even have gotten off the ground.
“We were the ones that gave the option to New Line,” Zaentz explained to JAM! Showbiz recently via phone from his office in Berkeley, Calif. “Bob Shaye, the co-chairman and founder of New Line Cinema, called up to talk about getting the rights to do a trilogy … and he called up about [director Peter Jackson] and what he’s trying to do.”
Then, about four years ago, Zaentz spent an evening with Jackson and his wife.
“You could see that they were passionate and intelligent. It was like their lifetime dream, only they had the ability to carry it off,” Zaentz said. “Other people wanted to do it, but they had everything going for them. And they’re still doing it. I haven’t seen anything yet, but people whose opinion I value and trust say it looks absolutely wonderful.”
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