Jam! Showbiz
October 1, 2001

Boorman's Attempted Trip to Middle Earth
Greg Oliver

It's a little-known fact that a live action version of "Lord Of The Rings" almost happened in the mid-'70s.

Director John Boorman, best known at the time for the Academy Award-nominated "Deliverance", had talked with rights-holder United Artists about making a film of the famous trilogy.

Finances and movie-studio politics put an end to his dream for an epic re-telling of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic.

In an interview with Salon.com earlier this year, Boorman said that he spent a year on "Lord Of The Rings", but many things caused the wheels to roll off the track.

"At the end of the day, when I was ready with it, United Artists had gone into a very bad period. They didn't have the money. It was expensive, you know," Boorman told Salon's Stephen Lemons. "For a while, I got Disney interested in doing it. But it languished there as well. Then I told Tri-Star I wanted to do it. The rights then were with Saul Zaentz, who produced the animated version. I was authorized to offer him a million dollars for the rights. He wanted more, but Tri-Star wouldn't pay any more."

In an interview with JAM! Showbiz, Zaentz confirmed Boorman's involvement. "John Boorman wanted to make it, because John's a pro, and he knew that no one wanted to make and do three pictures."

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