Amazon ghosted Peter Jackson after promising to send scripts to him and writer Fran Walsh
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Peter Jackson talked about Amazon’s The Rings of Power show. The director of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy said the studio behind Rings of Power did approach him. Alongside the trilogy’s writer/producer Fran Walsh, Jackson asked Amazon to send some scripts over. The studio promised they would but, in the end, never did.
They asked me if I wanted to be involved – [writer/producer Fran Walsh] and I – and I said, “That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script”. So they said, “As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we’ll send them to you”. And the scripts never showed up. That’s the last thing I heard, which is fine. No Complaints at all.Peter Jackson, on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Despite the cold shoulder, Jackson holds no grudges against the studio. He continues on to say “I’ll be watching it. I’m not the sort of guy who wishes ill will. Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate”.
Why keep Jackson out of the loop?
As for why Amazon blanked the Oscar-winning director, it could be down to their licensing commitments. In a comment from the studio, they said “In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films”. As a result, it could be that distancing themselves from the trilogy’s creators is an attempt to avoid being too close to the films.
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter claims a more complicated backstory through “sources close to the project”. The studio respects Jackson, to the point where showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay “have privately attempted to make overtures to the filmmaker”. However, legal issues about keeping films and TV show separate have meant they can’t get too close. Moreover, there was also “executive changes” during the show’s development. One “head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado”, who was allegedly an “advocate of luring Jackson to the project”, left the company in 2019.
More importantly, J.R.R Tolkien’s estate was reportedly against Jackson’s involvement. The estate wasn’t involved with the films, however is directly involved with the Amazon series. This is after the company paid Tolkien’s estate $250 million to make the show. Meanwhile, Christopher Tolkien – J.R.R Tolkien’s son – has levied harsh criticism against Jackson’s films for “eviscerating the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25”. It’s not surprising, then, that Tolkien’s estate wouldn’t want to have Jackson anywhere near the new show.
Still, promising to send a Lord of the Rings script over to Peter Jackson and then going radio silence is nothing short of distasteful.
What do you think of Amazon’s decision to blank Peter Jackson? Would you want him attached to the project or are you more interested in seeing Lord of the Rings without him? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below! You can also hop over to our Discord to chat with us about all things film, TV, and entertainment!