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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings had already been a literary staple for decades by the time the movie adaptations came out, but the big screen versions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King have also managed to stand on their own as cinematic triumphs. What started as an ambitious film project that took eight years to fully realize resulted in three movies that were widely praised by critics and moviegoers alike. However, if producer Harvey Weinstein had his way with the first Lord of the Rings movie when it was still at Miramax, we would have gotten a significantly different version of the classic Tolkien tale, one which could have seen Quentin Tarantino behind the camera rather than Peter Jackson.
In the new book Anything You Can Imagine: The Making of Middle-Earth, author Ian Nathan writes (via Stuff) that even when The Lord of the Rings was being developed as two movies rather than a trilogy, Harvey Weinstein believed that Peter Jackson had "wasted" $12 million working on such a script. According to producer Ken Kamins, who worked with Weinstein during this period, Weinstein demanded that Jackson turn Lord of the Rings into one two-hour movie, and if he didn't comply, he would replaced with Quentin Tarantino, who Weinstein had already worked with for several years at this point. Shakespeare in Love director John Madden was also thrown in as another replacement director candidate.
The Lord of the Rings movies are certainly among the longer cinematic offerings, but if Peter Jackson had done as Harvey Weinstein requested, several of The Fellowship of the Ring's best sequences and a few of its characters would have been cut. Jackson subsequently received a Miramax memo dated June 17, 1998 that pitched "a more radical, streamlined approach" that would have allowed Lord of the Rings to be told in just one movie, but Jackson knew this wasn't the right course of action, so he contacted Ken Kamins and told him that he and his partner Fran Walsh couldn't make the movie that Weinstein wanted. Fortunately for Lord of the Rings fans, Kamins convinced Weinstein to let Jackson shop his Lord of the Rings treatment to other studios. New Line Cinema expressed interest, and the rest is history.
While a Quentin Tarantino-directed The Lord of the Rings sounds is certainly fun to think about, as a fully-realized movie, I doubt I'm alone in thinking that he wouldn't have been the right creative mind to tackle a project of this scale. Even assuming that Tarantino's love of gore and violence would have fit in since the Lord of the Rings movies are filled with battle scenes, having Gandalf drop f-bombs in every other sentence or Frodo sprinkling in Middle-Earth pop culture references wouldn't have gone over well, not to mention that it would have been less accessible to younger moviegoers.
While it's been a decade and half since Lord of the Rings film trilogy concluded and four years since the last Hobbit movie came out, Amazon is dropping around $500 million on a TV series that will take place before The Fellowship of the Ring and showcase new adventures. While not 100% guaranteed, it's probably safe to say that Quentin Tarantino won't be involved with this project either.