October 1, 2001
Trip to Middle Earth
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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