Head of Amazon Studios says the high budgets are for assets to be leveraged over many seasons.
Hollywood Reporter published a roundtable discussion with several studio heads, including Amazon’s Jennifer Salke; and of course the conversation turned to LORD OF THE RINGS, which is the biggest budgeted TV series in history. “This is a full season of a huge world-building show. The number is a sexy headline or a crazy headline that’s fun to click on, but that is really building the infrastructure of what will sustain the whole series.”
A day later, Amazon announced that director Wayne Yip is the newest Executive Producer of LOTR, making a baker’s dozen of 13 E.P.’s in charge; and confirmed the recent rumor of the first woman to direct for Middle-earth with Charlotte Brändström joining the production, who seems fully on board:
“I’m very excited to be guided through Middle-earth by JD’s and Patrick’s vision.”
Charlotte Brändström, LOTR Season 1 Director
Global, Global, Global
It’s no secret Amazon wants LOTR to be a global show; and they shouldn’t have to worry, since JRR Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS is the worldwide best selling fictional book of the 20th century, and is still considered one of the biggest selling fantasy books in every one of the 38 languages it’s published in. New Line and WB’s Middle-earth films set international sales records, and LOTR is still the most awarded film series in history across the globe.
Amazon’s Salke reinforced her global mandate multiple times, saying, “I’m so grateful to be in the position to drive this part of our business globally… A giant, global audience needs to show up to it as appointment television, and we are pretty confident that that will happen… It’s a global storytelling world, and these companies better get on board because it’s already late.”
LOTR has always been global in nature, but this being Amazon the real global reason is simple. “As for how many people need to watch Lord of the Rings? A lot. (laughs)” says Jennifer Salke. As head of Amazon Studios reporting to Jeff Bezos, there’s probably a constant conversation about metrics. But what makes a global show now may differ from what came before, with Salke adding, “The more diverse the cast, the better; the more diverse and authentic the storytelling, the better.”
For context on the 13 E.P.’s on Amazon’s show, New Line Cinema’s Lord of the Rings had only one active Executive Producer in Mark Ordesky, with the other 4 E.P. credits going to studio heads. This could be seen as a singular visionary in charge, just as there was a singular visionary director for all the films; and just as J.R.R. Tolkien was the singular visionary who never collaborated in crafting Middle-earth.
What lessons can Amazon learn from the team that’s been there & back again? Let’s find out! Join TORn Tuesday hosts Cliff Broadway and Justin Sewell for an epic All-Star LOTR panel tomorrow! Joining us will be Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer), Sean Astin (Actor – Sam Gamgee), Rick Porras (Co-producer), Jim Rygiel (Visual Effects Supervisor), Michael Pellerin (Producer, multiple LOTR & Hobbit documentaries), Keith Stern (Ian McKellen’s Digital Manager), and Sala Baker (Actor – Sauron), as we all relive memories of filming LORD OF THE RINGS. What were those early days on set like? Did producers follow the fan discussion online? What made this effort so special? Get your deep knowledge questions ready for this multi-Oscar winning team and join the Live chat tomorrow 5pm PT. There are three options to watch the live stream, each of which let you comment and ask questions of your own:
It’s been almost a year since The One Last Party, but we haven’t forgotten it, and we didn’t want Peter Jackson to think we’d forgotten about him either. As you may remember, one of the promises we made on the Indiegogo campaign was that we would send Peter a “thank you” card. To be exact, we said, “Your name will go on an EPIC ‘thank you’ card we will present or send to Peter Jackson, from fans everywhere, to express our appreciation for the immense effort he and his cast and crew have put into the epic journey of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.”
After the campaign ended, the TORn staff began brainstorming how to get all the names on one card – there were a lot of them! We decided to create a keepsake ‘Red Book’ for Peter. TORn staffer and designer, Mithril (Nancy Steinman), found a gorgeous leather journal and then designed and illustrated the interior pages and bound them into the book. Out of the 194 pages of the journal, 180 of them were the list of names!
Peter now has his journal, but we thought all of you deserved something to remember that fantastic night, too (besides your gift bags), so Mithril reached out with some questions to one of the party planners who was absolutely instrumental in making the party happen. Following is the interview with TORn Senior Staffer greendragon, and scroll down to see some photos of the journal and the party.
I attended the screening of the Extended Editions of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy at The Aero Theater in Santa Monica on Saturday, September 12th. The event was a tribute to two LotR greats who we have recently lost – Christopher Lee and Andrew Lesnie.
It’s a testament to the genius of Professor Tolkien that each time we open the pages of his books, we feel like we’ve entered the world of Middle-earth. But just imagine for a moment, that you were not just a passive observer of Frodo’s quest – but a true participant and member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Well, beginning July 31 on ABC, the reality show The Quest will place 12 reality contestants into a very similar scenario. They will be dropped into a scripted fantasy world reminiscent of the stories of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, as they embark on an epic adventure.
Garfeimao writes: The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has been doing a film series called “Great to be Nominated” which features the film from each year that received the most nominations while not winning one of the major awards. So, 2002 was Fellowship of the Ring, which did win 4 Academy Awards, but none of them in the major categories. The host did mention that the filmmakers were in the unique position of re-dressing that issue 2 years later, when Return of the King won all 11 awards it was nominated for.
Anyhow, the Samuel Goldwyn theater at the Academy is a wonderful room to see a film in. It’s just tops in screen and sound, which makes sense, since it’s an Industry venue. Seeing Fellowship again on the big screen was magical, you pick up on so many details you miss watching it at home. And the sound was amazing, I heard background dialogue I’d never heard before, and I’ve seen the film, well, more than a few times. 😉 Having the Orcs completely surround you, auditorily, was just so cool. Continue reading “Academy of Motion Pictures “Great to be Nominated” FOTR Screening Report!”