To this day, Peter Jackson’s cinematic take on The Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels is considered one of the greatest adaptations of all time. Unfortunately, Jackson’s follow-up offering from the land of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, in the form of The Hobbit trilogy, did not meet with the same success. Jed Brophy, who played the role of two orcs in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the dwarf Nori in The Hobbit films, weighed in on how the issue of studio interference ended up sinking the latter franchise.
“They [studios] get in the way… I may be speaking out of turn here, and probably if those people ever find me I’ll get slammed, but I think that Warner Brothers kind of got in the way of Peter and The Hobbit… None of them are people that can actually look at a script and in their head imagine how you can actually get the best drama out of that. And if you get in the way of that process you’re actually stopping someone from actually getting a flow on, and that’s what I think happened, that’s what I could see happening is that there was not that same flow. Now, Peter would see stuff on Lord of the Rings and get this amazing idea about how he could shoot the next scene from stuff that was already happening on set, but if you’ve got people dictating what your day is going to be then that stops it.”
Much has been written about the drastic reduction in quality that Jackson’s movies suffered from when he set out to adapt Tolkien’s single novel The Hobbit into a bloated, CGI-infested trilogy. The filmmaker himself has made no secret of his disappointment with the series, admitting frankly in a 2015 interview that since he was abruptly called in to replace Guillermo Del Toro on the project, he did not have nearly enough time to decide on a particular vision for the franchise.
“Because Guillermo Del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn’t wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie, which was different to what he was doing. It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all. You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot […] I spent most of The Hobbit feeling like I was not on top of it […] even from a script point of view Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high-pressure situation.”
While Tolkien fans were disappointed with The Hobbit films, they will hopefully be able to better enjoy Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series, set centuries earlier, which will detail the events of the first rise of Sauron, the creation of the One Ring, and the gathering of Men, Elves and Dwarves to oppose the forces of Mordor. This news originated at The Guardian.