Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy had a troubled journey into production. Originally it was set up under Harvey Weinstein at Miramax, who owned the rights. Weinstein tried to pressure Jackson to make just one or two films from Tolkien’s books. Jackson held the line and the relationship between the two creatives reportedly became strained.
Eventually, Jackson was allowed to pitch his movies to other studios. In typical Weinstein style, he threw in an obstacle seemingly designed to make this approach fail. A very tight deadline to get any deals in place.
While visiting Dax Shepard’s Armchair Podcast, star Elijah Wood spoke about his career-defining role, and the impossible task set by Weinstein as a barrier to Jackson:
“The window of time was insane. They shopped it around town. Peter made a pitch video that’s pretty impressive, taken to a variety of places. Most people were balking at the notion of doing more than one film. The popular opinion was, ‘No, you have to see how the first movie does and then invest the rest of your money.'”
The Lord Of The Rings would ultimately find a home at New Line Cinema as producer Bob Shaye saw Jackson’s passion and vision. He agreed to make three movies, all filmed at the same time to control costs. The rest is history. The movies were commercial and critical smash-hits and Weinstein was so upset, allegedly, that he rubbed one out into a pot plant while screaming Jackson’s name.
Now the actors admit that a prominent orc in the movie was designed to resemble Harvey Weinstein as payback for him trying to put barriers in their way.
Wood spoke about his the news was first broken by The Friendship Onion podcast, which is run by former Lord of the Rings co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd.
“They were talking to Sean Astin about his first memory of getting to New Zealand for the first time. He had seen these orc masks. And one of the orc masks — and I remember this vividly — was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a f— you. I think it’s okay to talk about this now. He’s f—ing incarcerated.”
Entertainment Weekly then picked up on the story and have approached New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson for comment. They have not responded. Harvey Weinstein cannot be approached for comment until visiting hours.