Actor Elijah Wood revealed a juicy story during his recent appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wood, who played Frodo Baggins in the The Lord of the Rings film franchise, shared that the iconic trilogy almost didn’t get made.
This was because disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and his Miramax production company saddled filmmaker Peter Jackson with several impossible conditions before greenlighting the movies.
Miramax acquired the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s books in the mid-1990s and put in a few million dollars into development. When it became clear to producer-director Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh that all three films weren’t going to be made the way they envisioned it, they asked Weinstein for permission to shop the films to other studios.
“And Miramax said: ‘We will only give it back to you in turnaround, but two things have to happen’. One, you have to go get it set up this weekend. And two, whoever agrees has to agree to make all three at once,” Shepard said and had the story confirmed with Wood.
“The window of time was insane,” Wood added. “They shopped it around town. Peter made a pitch video that’s pretty impressive, taken to a variety of places. Most people were baulking at the notion of doing more than one film.
“The popular opinion was, ‘No, you have to see how [the initial movie] does and then invest the rest of your money.’”
Fortunately, Jackson eventually met with Bob Shaye at New Line Cinema and an unlikely deal was struck.
“I think the lore is that they were coming with two and it was Bob Shaye who said, ‘We have to do three,’ which is insane,” said Wood.
“An incredible risk. Miramax thought there was no chance in hell.”
Wood also dropped an anecdote at that point in the conversation and revealed that Jackson did take a shot at Weinstein.
Actors Dominic Monaghan and Bill Boyd, who played hobbits Merry and Pippin, have a podcast called The Friendship Onion.
Both talked to Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee, about his first memory on set in New Zealand.
“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,” said Wood.
“I think that is okay to talk about now, the guy is f******g incarcerated. F*** him.”
Weinstein was a huge Hollywood mogul before he was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a rape conviction in late February.
He was found guilty on two counts: one for raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2006, and another for forcing a sexual act on former production assistant Miriam ‘Mimi’ Haleyi in 2013.
Weinstein is appealing the sentence, but is also facing additional sex crime charges.