In the current climate it's easy to mock disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein but some were ahead of the game. Not all film fans may know that the history of getting The Lord of the Rings franchise to the big screen from Peter Jackson began with Harvey and his brother Bob, but there were one of the driving forces for it back in the 1990s. Ever the roadblock in actually getting something made, Jackson's work with the pair ultimately ended after the project was able to get set up at New Line Cinema, but the Oscar winning filmmaker wouldn't let his feelings on the two producers end there.
Speaking on Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard recently (H/T The Hollywood Reporter), franchise star Elijah Wood was recapping the road from development to shooting on the trilogy with Shepard, who admitted he loved that saga as much as the movies themselves. While making note of the specific and near-unachievable hurdles that Weinstein put in front of Jackson in order for the movies to get made, Wood revealed that Jackson made sure to pay special tribute to Weinstein in the form of one of the film's on-screen monsters..
"It's funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom (Monaghan) and Bill (Boyd) have a podcast, The Friendship Onion," Wood revealed. "They were talking to Sean Astin about his first memory of getting to 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-ck you." He added, while laughing, "I think that is OK to talk about now, the guy is f-cking incarcerated. Fuck him."
Jackson's public distaste for Weinstein didn't end there either, as TheOneRing.net previously pointed out how the end credits for one of the films featured giant trolls on the same title card featuring both of the Weinstein's names.
Reminder that Peter Jackson put giant beastly trolls on the end credits screen for Harvey Weinstein. pic.twitter.com/PC2pBLC11Q— TheOneRing.net (@theoneringnet) February 23, 2021
Wood and Shepard's recap of how Miramax gave up The Lord of the Rings movies and in turn allowed for them to go to New Line reveal why the hard feelings would be ever-present from Jackson. Despite owning the rights for a few years, and seemingly not having any interest in actually making the movies, the Weinstein's were perhaps hell bent on not allowing another studio to produce them. Jackson reportedly pleaded with them to allow him to seek another studio to finance the project and they agreed, giving him a weekend and saying they had to commit to three movies.
Wood noted, "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 on) does and then invest the rest of your money.'...I think the lore is that they were coming with two and it was Bob Shaye (former head of New Line Cinema) who said, 'We have to do three,' which is insane. An incredible risk. Miramax thought there was no chance in hell."
A huge exposé on how the films came together over at Polygon (which is well worth your time) divulges into this further, noting that "(The Weinsteins) didn't understand Tolkien, and they didn't believe in the material. They only saw it as a chance to stay in the Peter Jackson business for a cost."
Luckily, Jackson had the last laugh, more than once.