According to First Things, J.R.R. Tolkien once nixed a film adaptation of his classic novel, Lord of the Rings, by the Beatles. Better yet, the film was to be directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Via Patheos, First Things lays out the original plans:
Once upon a time, the Fab Four—having slain the pop charts—decided to set their sights on the Dark Lord Sauron by making a Lord of the Rings feature, starring themselves. One man dared stand in their way: J.R.R. Tolkien.
According to Peter Jackson, who knows a little something about making Lord of the Rings movies, John Lennon was the Beatle most keen on LOTR back in the ’60s—and he wanted to play Gollum, while Paul McCartney would play Frodo, Ringo Starr would take on Sam and George Harrison would beard it up for Gandalf. And he approached a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick to direct.
More details came from a conversation between Paul McCartney and Peter Jackson, who successfully managed to coerce the Tolkien estate into giving up the film rights to the trilogy (something that Christopher Tolkien still hasn’t lived down):
McCartney told Jackson about the failed scheme when the two bumped into each other at the Academy Awards: “It was something John was driving and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage but he didn’t like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it,” Jackson told the Wellington Evening Post in 2002.
“There probably would’ve been some good songs coming off the album,” said Jackson.
That Tolkien didn’t care for the Beatles will come as no surprise to fans of either one, but Tolkien’s letters give us a hint that his opposition to the Beatles may have had a more personal dimension.
I think the real question, though, is whether the Beatles/Kubrick film would have managed to feel even more like an acid trip than the terribly awesome (or awesomely terrible) Ralph Bakshi adaptation.
Rope of Silicon is reporting that The Hobbit: There and Back Again has been delayed by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. The final instalment of the trilogy is now targeting a December 17th, 2014 release, five months later than its original release date of July 14th, 2014.
Certainly disappointing news, but maybe not so surprising given the long-troubled production of the trilogy. It’s hard not to wonder if this is also the result of the studios deciding to expand the series of movies from two to three just months before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey came to theatres. This new release schedule will mirror the three-movies-over-two-years schedule that The Lord of the Rings followed.
Today marks the worldwide release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. To celebrate, I’ve gathered together some of my favourite art, professional and amateur, together to celebrate the wonderful legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s best (yep, best) work.
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.
I will fully admit to nicking most of these images from a post at Tor.com, also celebrating some of the wonderful art created in celebration of The Hobbit. So, have you seen the film? What did you think? And, what are some of your favourite pieces of art from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?
If you’re anything like me, the songs in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings probably left you a little confused. I don’t have much of a musical talent, outside of being able to keep a bit of a rhythm, but melody has always escaped me, so I recited the songs in the novels more as spoken word poems than as actual melodies. I was delighted when I first heard the haunting rendition the dwarfs’ song in trailers for Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit, but this audio clip I came across on Reddit really takes the cake. Thanks to HarperCollins, Tolkien’s current publisher, we can all enjoy an audio recording of Tolkien himself singing “That’s What Bilbo Baggins Hates,” one of the most memorable songs in The Hobbit.
Media blackout and all, I’m not going to watch this, but I hope you enjoy it. Only a few more weeks! To think, the last time I lined up for a Tolkien/Jackson film, I was fresh out of high school. Ten years later, my excitement for a film hasn’t been so feverish since. Until now.