Elijah Wood revealed on a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter) that an orc in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein “as a sort of fuck you” to the now-convicted sexual assaulter. Jackson first started developing his J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation at Miramax under the supervision of Weinstein, but working together proved impossible for the director. Weinstein demanded Jackson make only one movie of all three Tolkien books. Jackson wanted at least two films under Miramax, with Weinstein reportedly rejecting Jackson’s wishes and threatening to replace him with Quentin Tarantino or “Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden.
“The window of time was insane,” Wood said about finding the right home for Jackson’s trilogy. “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 initial movie] does and then invest the rest of your money.’”
When Weinstein agreed to make a two-part movie, he allegedly capped the budget at $75 million and never disclosed that sum to Jackson as pre-production continued for a year and a half. When the “Rings” team found out about the financial cap, they took matters into their own hands by leaking the script in an attempt to get the project away from Weinstein. The plan was to stir up buzz around the project on the strength of the script and lure in another buyer for the movie. That’s when Bob Shaye at New Line Cinema entered the picture.
“I think the lore is that they were coming with two and it was Bob Shaye who said, ‘We have to do three,’ which is insane,” Wood said. “An incredible risk. Miramax thought there was no chance in hell.”
Wood continued, “It’s funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan] and Bill [Boyd] have a podcast, ‘The Friendship Onion.’ They were talking to Sean Astin about his first memory of getting to New Zealand,” recalled Wood. “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 fuck you.”
“I think that is Ok to talk about now, the guy is fucking incarcerated,” Wood added about Weinstein. “Fuck him.”
Listen to Wood’s full podcast episode over on the “Armchair Expert” website.