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.