How Peter Jackson saved the fantasy trilogy 20 years ago

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an undisputed fantasy masterpiece that can hardly be surpassed in epic. But it could have turned out quite differently. For this year’s 20th anniversary of the first film, director Peter Jackson remembered one no less epic tantrum. It is only thanks to this angry outburst that the Middle-earth journey became so groundbreaking in the end.

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson lost his composure once – and at the right moment

Anyone who hears the Lord of the Rings actors in interviews quickly gets the impression that Peter Jackson is on the set a very relaxed director was. He never raised his voice, appeared calmly and gave the stars a lot of freedom. It is all the more astonishing that it was precisely an outburst of anger on his part that helped the trilogy to its present size.

Peter Jackson filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy

In one Deadline -Interview Peter Jackson spoke about the decisive moment: At this point the crew was stuck in a remote New Zealand quarry in the middle of the strenuous shoot of Helm’s Gorge (for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).

The originally quoted The budget of 60 million dollars per film had already been exceeded by far and so producer Barrie M. Osborne was sent to the Lord of the Rings set with a special phone to hook up New Line Cinema’s Michael Lynne with the director. Peter Jackson recalls how it all went:

There was a time when New Line was upset with us about the budget. I stood with Viggo [Mortensen] on the parapet wall and saw Barrie [Osborne]. It took him 30 minutes to get up to us […] and then he said, “I’ve got the studio on the phone and I need to put you through to Michael Lynn.” I asked why and he said, ‘Oh he will threaten to sue you and sell everything to cover the excess costs. ‘

The Lord of the Rings: The turning point in Helm’s Deep

Barrie was just the messenger, but that was one of the only times I really freaked out. I said, ‘Tell Michael Lynne that I’m making this fucking movie and doing the best jobi can. And I’m not going to interrupt my day with a phone call like this! ‘ So Barrie took the phone, got back down, and drove off.

The Lord of the Rings needed its oversized budget and Peter Jackson knew it

In the end, Peter Jackson was granted an additional million, the enormous pressure eased with a rescheduled “more realistic” budget and the Lord of the Rings trilogy became a great success. All’s well that ends well. In retrospect, the project was a real one insane enterprise:

  • The mammoth work The Lord of the Rings became shot in one go.

  • Tons of money ($ 300 million) poured into one gigantic production, of which it was not clear whether the first film would even be a success.
  • The Lord of the Rings, which is considered unfilmable, was staged by someone rather unknown New Zealand directorwho had previously made mostly low-cost exploitation films.

The Lord of the Rings 2: Peter Jackson’s combative guest appearance

By the way, more than 20 years later, Peter Jackson is more conciliatory and realizes that the Lord of the Rings producers were only doing their job by keeping an eye on the skyrocketing costs: “Your anger was understandable. You are not the villains of this story. We were the bad guys for over budget. “

Still, we have to be grateful to Peter Jackson for his outburst and lack of fear of legal action. Because if he the If the pressure had given in, the result would have been a very different film. But that’s how the film trilogy we know and love today came about.

Can you imagine what a discounted Lord of the Rings would have looked like if Peter Jackson hadn’t got his way?

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