Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings writer and director Peter Jackson has responded to Amazon’s upcoming TV series, saying the company basically pranked him.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson said Amazon asked him and Lord of the Rings writer-producer Fran Walsh if they wanted to be involved in the TV series. Jackson said he and Walsh couldn’t agree to do it until they saw a script, and that’s where communication apparently ended.
“So they said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple of scripts, we’ll send them to you. And the scripts never appeared. That’s the last I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all,” Jackson recalled.
Jackson said on an upcoming episode of The Business podcast that Amazon first approached him four or five years ago to see if they might be interested in collaborating on the series.
“So I said, ‘Have you got the scripts yet?’ Because I know how difficult the scripts were to write for the movies, and I didn’t know the people who wrote their scripts. They said, ‘Oh no, we don’t have the scripts yet, but as soon as we do, ‘will send you the scripts.’ So I was waiting for the scripts to come and they never did,” Jackson said.
Despite being left out, Jackson said he wishes Amazon well. “Filmmaking is hard enough. If someone makes a good movie or TV show, that’s something to celebrate,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to watching The Rings of Power as a “perfectly neutral viewer.”
An Amazon spokesperson told THR that they have the “utmost respect” for Jackson and the Lord of the Rings films. However, the statement suggested that Amazon may have cut off discussions with Jackson due to rights and legal issues. “In pursuing the rights to our show, we were committed to keeping the series distinct and separate from the films,” the statement said.
THR’s sources said Amazon had “legal concerns” to consider regarding how the TV show needs to be separate from the movies, which are owned by Warner Bros. According to the report, former Amazon Studios head Sharon Tal Yguado — who left in 2019 — advocated bringing Jackson on to help with The Rings of Power.
The site’s sources added that the Tolkien estate did not want Jackson to work on The Rings of Power. This is not a total surprise, as Christopher Tolkien previously spoke harshly about Jackson’s film series. However, the estate agreed to work with Amazon on The Rings of Power, for the reported fee of $250 million.
The Rings of Power premieres September 2 on Prime Video. For more, check out the Comic-Con trailer in the photo gallery above.
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