Sunday Star Times
January 19, 2000Lord of the Rings
Producer Quits Inner Circle
The top New Zealand producer on Peter Jackson's Lord of the
Rings film has quit. Tim Sanders, Jackson's long-time friend and producer, confirmed
yesterday he had stepped down from his glamour role on the $360 million film trilogy.
"I've left the project, it was a personal choice and at
this stage I don't want to say much more about it," Sanders told the Sunday Star-
Sanders said he had dedicated most of the past three years to
the film trilogy. Asked if it would be hard to walk away from the project, he did not want
He dismissed rumours there was a dispute over spending,
including providing meals for non-shooting crew -- staff working on the project but who
are not required on set. "You shouldn't suggest it's anything that I've done. If
anything, it's the reverse. And therefore it was my choice," he said.
Rings publicist Claire Raskind said New Line studio
executives stressed the project was on budget and on schedule. New Line Cinema is the
American company backing the project.
Sanders's departure comes at an awkward time as filming
resumes tomorrow in Waikato after the Christmas break.
Film sources said New Line Cinema people were "tough
bastards" who ran a tight ship. As director, Jackson had creative control over the
trilogy but everything else was run by the Americans.
The project's American producer Barrie M Osborne yesterday
said: " Tim's been involved with this project since the very early days and done a
"He's a great guy, he's done a great job. But I've been
here for quite a long time. This project has been a complicated one and he's done well to
get this thing up and off the ground." He said Sanders would not be replaced.
Sanders's film career extends back to the 1981 Kiwi film Race
to the Yankee Zephyr, which starred Bruno Lawrence and Ken Wahl.
His television work includes producing the 1994
documentary-drama Fallout -- the controversial account of the 1984 political crisis which
occurred as David Lange's Labour government entered office.
In 1995, Sanders quit as the head of production at South
Pacific Pictures, the makers of Shortland St, to work as Jackson's producer on The
Frighteners, which starred Michael J Fox.
Sanders and Jackson have worked together since.