Amazon is talking to director Peter Jackson over potential involvement in its forthcoming Lord of the Rings television series, which may include material from the two recent movie trilogies.
A new Hollywood Reporter piece says the New Zealander’s lawyer “recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon” ahead of production.
Whether Jackson, who directed the LotR and The Hobbit movie trilogies, comes on board as an executive producer would be “up to him” the report says.
Jackson, who’s adaptations have become the definitive on-screen take on Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, would doubtless be an asset to Amazon’s project.
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In November last year, the company handed over $250 million to acquire the rights from the Tolkien estate. However, today’s report says the overall cost of the project will exceed $1 billion.
Interestingly, under the terms of the agreement, Amazon must begin production by November 2019, according to today’s report. That doesn’t leave the company a lot of time to establish a story and script, or acquire a cast and crew.
Another tidbit from today’s report is the possibility of material from Jackson’s films becoming part of the new series.
The Hollywood Reporter says both New Line Cinema and its parent company Warner Bros., the studios that brought the original trilogy to the screen, have been involved in the talks.
There has been no official word on where the show will place its focus, or whether familiar characters (and indeed actors) will return to our screens. Judging by Amazon’s overtures to Jackson and the movie studios, it appears the continuation of the franchise (albeit within a different medium) might be on the agenda.
“We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming,” said Jackson’s attorney Peter Nelson. “I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios’ emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles.”
All we know for sure is Amazon has promised the show will “bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”
Amazon has committed to at least five seasons of programming.
The success of the show is crucial to Amazon’s original programming aspirations, as it seeks a HBO-style mega-hit and to overhaul Netflix in the streaming realm.
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