The Hollywood Reporter has a new interview with the Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke. Included are intriguing details about “The Lord of the Rings” series they are developing including the possible involvement of Peter Jackson and a targeted air date in 2021.
The scripted narrative about Amazon has been that Jeff Bezos wanted his version of Game of Thrones. Have you spoken with him about that and how you can deliver on that goal?
All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game. We’re really excited about Lord of the Rings. Despite all the chatter about it, the deal just closed a month ago. We’ve been talking to writers. We have an estate that’s very active. I’ve spent three hours with Simon Tolkien. There’s a lot of moving parts with it. We’ll have some game plan to move forward with very soon. Then there’s great genre stuff and tons of stuff in the pipeline. And we just picked up The Expanse, which Jeff was so excited about. We are going to have lots of big shows. They’re not all going to be genre sci-fi. We’re also going to have some big addictive female shows. We’re looking for our next big show that women also can’t stop talking about.
One of the clauses in landing Lord of the Rings is that it must be in production within two years. Will it make that?
It’ll be in production in two years; [on the air in] 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.
What is Peter Jackson’s involvement?
We’re in conversations with him that I think are very amicable about how much involvement he wants and what kind. We haven’t figured out exactly what that is yet. He may say he is involved or he’s not involved. We’re still very much in conversation with him about what kind of involvement he would propose.
When and if he signs on, does the search for a showrunner then begin?
No. We are currently talking to writers. I have sat with three or four different groups of writers. Sharon Tal Yguado has met with many more than that. When we announced it, many agents called and with clients and British writers have come calling. There have been a lot of informational meetings about the material and about the scope of what we can do. My hope would be to put together a group of talented people, which will obviously have a leader who can embark on this big ambitious endeavor.
What do you think about the talk that the Tolkien estate is “active”, a 2021 air date, or the potential involvement or not of Peter Jackson with this upcoming TV series?