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If you like Peter Jackson's story, you might also like:
James Cameron,
Francis Ford Coppola,
Ron Howard,
George Lucas,
Kiri Te Kanawa
and Robert Zemeckis

Related Links:
The One Ring
The Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson Fan Club

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Sir Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Jackson
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Sir Peter Jackson Interview (page: 3 / 8)

Oscar for Best Director

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  Sir Peter Jackson

What prompted the decision to film all three Lord of the Rings books at once?

Sir Peter Jackson: Just the economics and the way that we wanted to release them.

New Line were prepared to take the risk to fund the filming of all three because that's what was going to be so much cheaper for them. We'd build sets once. We'd just shoot the set, which -- some of the sets appeared in all three films, a few of them, some appeared in two films -- and you're done. And you also have the actors on a deal, so that they can't -- you don't make one movie -- because often what happens with franchises is you make one movie, the first one is very successful, and then the actors come back and they want twice the amount of money now because they're in a successful film.

Fair enough. There's nothing wrong with that, but this was a danger for this project with three movies.

New Line had the actors contracted as one -- they're basically as one big job, and we knew it was three movies, but it was like getting paid for a job, and they're getting paid at the rate they were at that time. So like, even though Orlando Bloom's career rocketed through the three Lord of the Rings films, he was still getting paid exactly the same on the third one as he was on the first, even though he was getting a lot more money, you know, being offered to him for other films. So the economics of it, it's quick, quicker. You get a momentum going. It will be quicker to shoot. You don't have to wrap and have post-production and then start up pre-production again and do that three times. You just sort of set up, go, and stop. Anyway, it was certainly much cheaper to do it that way, but the downside of it is the risk. The downside is if the first film fails, then you've squandered the money for the other two. So that was -- you know -- it comes at its price.

It must make the casting choices even more crucial, because you can't really change them in midstream.

Sir Peter Jackson: No, no. We did change Aragorn after we started shooting, but that's just because we felt we had to. We weren't happy with our first choice for him, but we made that decision in the first week of shooting, because we just knew. We knew if this went on that it was going to be turned to a total nightmare. And in that regard, I think, on a normal film we wouldn't have done that. We would have thought, okay, we'll get through a few weeks with this guy. We'll make it work somehow. It will be okay, but the fact we were facing 18 months of shooting, we just had to have people who were 100 percent committed, 100 percent nice people who we felt we could comfortably work with.

Casting the human beings, you know, who were actors, but casting them as humans was so important, casting them as people that we got to know, and feel whether they would survive in New Zealand for 18 months without being driven crazy, whether they'd be supportive of the film. I think what happened is we got a really incredible group of people and who had great loyalty, and I think -- I thought about it afterwards -- and I thought that really, what the dynamic has done is it's -- now we've ended up with people that are really thinking, "If I've committed to a movie that's going to -- I'm going to spend 18 months of my life on it -- it's going to have to be pretty bloody good. I don't want to spend 18 months on a dud." So everybody showed up on set every day with a spirit of, "Let's make this as good as it can be because, man, this is a big piece of my life, and I don't want to see this going to waste on a bad movie."

Sir Peter Jackson Interview Photo
So that spirit of "let's make this as good as we can" never went away. It was actually just a spirit that was there and a reflection the whole time.

We've all met people who literally have read The Lord of the Rings 20, 30, 40 times. Were you one of those people who kind of digested the book as a child?

Sir Peter Jackson: No. I read it when I was 17, once, and I never read it again until the idea of doing the film came about.

But obviously, it appealed to you greatly.

Sir Peter Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's the sort of story that I always wanted to make. I mean, my frame of context was more, you know, Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, more that type of thing.

I'd always wanted to make a fantasy film because I used to love those films when I was a kid. Ones with monsters and ogres and trolls and sword fighting and big battles and castles. I mean just that whole thing, that was one of the worlds that I loved the most really, and so it just happened to end up being The Lord of the Rings, the big granddaddy of them all, ended up being our subject matter. But it was certainly a project that -- it was a genre that I wanted to do, but I had always thought Lord of the Rings was a bit unattainable. I thought it was out of our reach, especially when you're down in New Zealand. You're not ever gonna think you're going to get a chance to make Lord of the Rings. You don't even dream about it. You think you're going to write an original story, a Lord of the Rings-ish type of fantasy story. That's what I assumed would happen.

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This page last revised on Nov 25, 2013 11:39 EST
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