From Royd Tolkien:
I’ve had a bunch of people asking my opinion on the recent New Line / Peter Jackson / Hobbit news. These are my thoughts…
Before Peter made Lord Of The Rings all I knew of his work was that I really enjoyed his films. That all changed a few years ago. He’s not only a filmmaker, he’s someone that I now trust and respect.
Before the films were made I held massive reservations and fears that JRRT and LOTR would be used as merely a tool for producing revenue and would result ultimately in a substandard film. But it’s different now, and it’s different because of Peter.
3 weeks ago those feelings returned. Without him, The Hobbit will become what I had earlier feared LOTR was to become.
To find a new director after the time and dedication Peter and all his people put in would not just be wrong, it would also be a bad decision.
Now I know and understand that some purists would disagree with me, and whilst I again understand and agree with their right to have an opinion, just imagine how bad it could have been without Peter at the helm. Peter didn’t just direct a film, he brought together a highly impressive team.
Think about the different elements of his team; first there was the thoughtfulness and professionalism of Richard Taylor and everyone at Weta who realised the complex detail needed to make it believable; secondly the way Howard Shore’s beautiful music compliments and binds the film. In addition to this there is the wonderfully detailed concepts of Alan Lee and John Howe, both of whose insights helped craft the feel of the film. The fabulous costumes of Ngila Dickson, the photography and vision of Andrew Lesnie, and New Zealand, a country that lends itself perfectly to Middle Earth with its breathtaking and varied landscapes. All of these elements and many more were brought together by Peter.
How could a different director do what Peter has done? How would they find a similar team of people who have the knowledge, passion and understanding of a world they helped create?
Surely that doesn’t make any sense when Peter already holds the key.
I do understand and agree with Peter’s position, although I only know on the surface what must be a very difficult and frustrating decision for him.
I know it’s not simply a matter of saying yes. There’s a mountain of issues that lie between New Line and Peter, but there must be some way to resolve this.
I imagine there’s been an awful lot of letters and conversations between both camps, heels have been dug in and hair pulled out. If only there was some way to sort out the stalemate between them and find that common ground and resolution which is needed to do justice to such an important book.
Whilst I don’t know the inner relationship between New Line and Peter, what i do know is that they backed him, all those years ago, to produce LOTR. For that part and many more they played, I’m forever grateful.
When I saw the end result on screen, knowing that everyone had played a part in putting it there, and were all united in putting it there, it made me smile. I’m sorry but has everyone forgot those simple smiles? Isn’t that what making films is all about?
If Peter hadn’t made LOTR with the respect he showed to my Great Grandfather, I’d not have felt compelled to voice my opinion.