December 2, 1999Lord of the Rings
Helmer Peter Jackson and New Line big shots Robert Shaye and
Michael Lynne are talking up their challenging Lord of the Rings film production. In an
article in the Wall Street Journal, additional information about the production was
provided as well as tidbits on further promotions for the films to come.
Regardless of how big the buzz has been on the project, New
Line is still well aware of what a big risk bringing Tolkiens epic story the screen
is. Robert Shaye, founder and CEO of New Line, addresses the risks involved in making the
trilogy in one fell swoop
and a lot of money
saying, "Could it backfire?
Sure, if the first film is a disaster it doesn't augur very well for the next two
[b]ut -- and I'm knocking on my desk here -- we feel very certain that this has a
universal currency in terms of interest, and we think it could be a franchise right off
Shaye and company are playing it smart, defraying the
expenses up front with word of of a number of international financial partners as well as
"serious lucre in merchandising and licensing deals" to come.
Shaye and New Line prez Michael Lynne also talked of how the
production was brought to them after Jackson was unable to craft the epic into a two-part
film series, with the helmer noting, "any attempt to compress the story or simplify
it would disappoint." Jackson didnt just come bearing scripts, but a short
video reel demonstrating a number of the films potential creatures. Lynnes
assessment of the video? "It was amazing: things we hadn't seen before, that played
tricks with perception, with how vision works. We were blown away."
Regarding the current production, the paper notes that the
films have 85 speaking parts, noting that none of those parts will be filled by still
rumored Sean Connery. On this point, Jackson is quoted as saying, "Never talked to
As far as the special effects are concerned, Jackson was
asked if he had any concerns that the visuals on the screen might eclipse the actors.
Jackson answered, "Lord of the Rings is wonderful source material, an amazingly
intricate epic story with wonderful characters. We're just trying to take all the great
stuff from the books and use modern technology to give audiences a night at the movies
quite unlike anything they have ever seen before."
As far as plans to further promote the production, the
Journal reports that New Line will be doing a series of videotape interviews with Jackson
as well as conduct Internet remote chats from and during the production.