Quentin Tarantino Almost Directed ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Ruined Tolkien’s Work

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Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Credit: New Line Cinema

Legendary director Quentin Tarantino is known globally for his unique and stylized film-making techniques. Still, the violent writer almost replaced Peter Jackson and turned The Lord of the Rings into a bloodbath.

Sir Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Amazon Defy J.R.R. Tolkien’s Wish, Buys Rights to ‘The Hobbit’

Nearly every name had gone through The Lord of the Rings before director Peter Jackson helmed the epic fantasy and turned the work of author J.R.R. Tolkien into a cinematic masterpiece of a trilogy and franchise.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) are regarded as some of the greatest works in film history, with the latter being one of the highest-rated movies on IMDb with 8.9/10.

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel (left) and Elijah Wood as Frodo (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Pulp Fiction (1994), the film that redefined how Hollywood went about telling mature, gritty stories, sits behind Return of the King on IMDb with an 8.9/10 rating as well, given that it’s one of Quentin Tarantino’s most respected and sourced movies in the director’s career.

Putting out classic works such as Inglorious Basterds (2010), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Django: Unchained (2012), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), and Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003), Tarantino has earned himself a place among the stars above Hollywood, with every major studio, actor, and producer gripping for his coattails on every project he has a hand in.

Quentin Tarntino (left) and Brad Pitt (right)
Credit: Sony Pictures

Upon acquiring the film rights for The Lord of the Rings, Miramax and The Walt Disney Company began pre-production on Tolkien’s work in the mid-1990s. Hollywood’s blacklisted Weinstein Brothers — Harvey and Bob Weinstein — led the project with indie director and New Zealand native Peter Jackson attached to direct the trilogy.

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf (left) and Peter Jackson (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

However, upon Disney placing a budget cap on Miramax as a whole (Disney purchased the studio in 1993 for $60 million), the Weinsteins pressured Jackson to condense Tolkien’s three books into a singular two-and-a-half-hour movie.

Harvey Weinstein reportedly wanted to kill three Hobbits (while it’s unclear precisely who, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, and Merry Brandybuck seem the most likely to get killed).

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins and Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee
Credit: New Line Cinema

Peter Jackson’s manager, Ken Kamins, revealed:

“Harvey was excited. We found that very encouraging and thought we’d have room to tell the stories, only we weren’t paying attention to the political dynamic between Miramax and Disney. Disney had set a budget cap on Miramax and Lord of the Rings was well in excess of what they could greenlight on their own.”

elijah wood catching the ring as frodo baggins
Credit: New Line Cinema

Kamins continues:

“When Disney realized the budget and that we were going to shoot the films back-to-back, and the director was not exactly an A-list name, they made it very clear they were not on board. So then begun the very tortured process of Harvey not wanting to admit to the Disney pushback and then at the same time saying to Peter, ‘This is what you have to do.’”

“He’d [Harvey Weinstein] threaten to get Quentin Tarantino to direct if Peter couldn’t do it in one film that was two-and-a-half hours – which was the exact opposite of what he initially told us he wanted.”

John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
Credit: New Line Cinema

Upon selling the film rights to New Line Cinema with a $12 million upfront payment, 5% earnings of the box office, and Executive Producer listings for the Weinsteins, Peter Jackson was able to remain a director and produce three separate films (clocking in over 11 hours combined!):

Did you know that for THE LORD OF THE RINGS… Elijah Wood confirmed that Peter Jackson designed this orc to look like Harvey Weinstein. Harvey had threatened to replace Peter with Quentin Tarantino if he didn’t condense all three books into one film.

Fortunately, New Line Cinema rescued the project and the trilogy.

Related: Why Disney and Universal Haven’t Made a ‘Lord of the Rings’ Theme Park

Imagine Quentin Tarantino adapting The Lord of the Rings into a movie is like saying Tarantino should director a Star Wars movie; it just seems off.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee (left), Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins (middle), and Andy Serkis as Gollum (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Why J.R.R. Tolkien Never Let Walt Disney Touch ‘The Lord of the Rings’

While Tarantino is a tremendously talented director, writer, and storyteller, The Lord of the Rings doesn’t seem to fit within his wheelhouse of anti-heroes and excessive violence.

Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf
Credit: New Line Cinema

Would the Battle of Helm’s Deep be turned into a gorry bloodbath? Would the Witch King of Angmar be more brutal than before? How would Aragorn have looked covered in excessive blood as they stormed Mordor to allow the Hobbits to reach Mount Doom? All questions remain a mystery.

More about The Rings of Power

Taking place in the episodic Second Age of Middle Earth, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power chronicles the construction of the One Ring worn by dark lord Sauron under Mount Doom:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne in the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Morfryyd Clark as Galadriel
Credit: Amazon

The near $1 billion series is set to focus on the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the historic alliance between Elves and Men (that transcended the entire franchise), the island of Númenor/Westernesse, as well as a look into Khazad‐dûm/Moria before the dwarven kingdom fell to hoards of goblins and the deadly Balrog/Durin’s Bane.

However, unfortunately, you won’t be seeing any of the legendary hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm), Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), Pippen Took (Billy Boyd), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gandalf the White (Sir Ian McKellan), Saruman (Sir Christopher Lee), Gollum (Andy Serkis), and more in Rings of Power.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn (far left), Sir Ian McKellan as galdalf (middle), orlando bloom as legolas (right), sean astin as samwise gamgee (bottom left), elijah wood as frodo baggins (bottom middle), and dom monaghan as merry brandybuck (bottom right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Dark Lord Sauron is set to have a massive role in The Rings of Power. Still, the series features a relatively unknown cast of lead and supporting actors that are set to play some of the most formative names in Elrond (Robert Arayamo), Lady Galadriel of Lothlórien (Morfydd Clark), and Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur).

New characters like Dwarven Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), silvan elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), and Cole (Maxim Baldry) have been created specifically for the series (seen below).

Sophia Nomvete as Dwarven Princess Disa
Credit: Amazon

Showrunner Patrick McKay and writer JD Payne pen the tentative series with directors JA Bayona and Wayne Che Yip leading the Rings show set to debut on September 2, 2022.

What would have happened to LOTR if Quentin Tarantino directed it? Comment below!

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