The Lord of the Rings series of books were beloved among fantasy fans for decades, though it was the live-action adaptations that launched in 2001 that took the notoriety of the series to an all-new level. The films became some of the most beloved films of all time, in addition to becoming financial and critical successes. Amazon Studios is hoping to recreate that success with a new TV series based in Middle Earth, but given how prominent the series has become, the reported cost of the series is around the $1 billion-mark. Star of the original series, Elijah Wood, recently weighed in on with his shock over the massive sum.
"That's crazy to me," Wood shared with IndieWire when discussing the series' cost, which includes the cost of the rights to the intellectual property. "That wouldn't have happened back then because the Tolkien estate didn't know what they had as much as they do now. It's all a product of the world they live in. They know now what they have, they know how lucrative it is."
The trilogy of films was developed by Peter Jackson, who got his start with low-budget horror films like Dead Alive and Bad Taste. Wood noted that, while the production of these films was large, they were being filmed in New Zealand, largely out of the public eye, which made for a more intimate mood on set.
"The thing that was wild about Lord of the Rings was that it felt like an independent movie, made by New Line [Cinema] in New Zealand," Wood noted. "It was kind of tucked away. If that movie was made now, it would be under very different circumstances, and a much larger machine. That doesn't mean it can't have soul. It's just harder to do that."
In the nearly two decades since he filmed the trilogy, Wood has focused more on acting in smaller genre productions like Maniac and I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Despite that aversion to tentpole films, the actor noted that it's still possible to make compelling franchise films, even if it comes with challenges.
"Certainly some of the Marvel movies do have a soul," the actor admitted. "But I don't know. Franchises are tough. It's hard to make eye candy that makes a lot of money that's also artistically satisfying."
Even if Wood himself might not be involved in the project, he admits he's curious about how it will all pan out.
"We have no idea what this is going to be like, and it could be great," the actor shared. "Maybe they'll go to New Zealand and shoot a bit there for visual continuity. Who knows? Lord of the Rings just felt like a movie made by this small cottage industry out of New Zealand that had never made anything on that scale before. It's a completely untested thing. But I'll be watching. I'm curious."
Stay tuned for details on The Lord of the Rings TV series.
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