Imagine, if you will: a warrior man appears on screen with long, rustic hair and an adequate beard, resplendent but rugged in a coat of shining silver armor. His name is Aragorn, and as he draws back his bow to launch an arrow, the camera comes about so we can see his face. It’s Nicolas Cage. In a Lord of the Rings movie. Record scratch. That sounds almost as insane as the characters Cage often plays, but according to the actor, it almost happened.
The Lord of the Rings
Before Peter Jackson took the reigns of the franchise, Guillermo del Toro was supposed to direct The Hobbit, and planned to bring his friend and longtime collaborator Ron Perlman to voice the dragon Smaug. But financial problems and delays at MGM eventually forced del Toro from the project; after Peter Jackson, king of The Lord of the Rings, signed on to direct in his place, he replaced Perlman with Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s just one of the facts packed into the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which takes you on an unexpected journey behind the scenes of the first film in The Hobbit trilogy!
Thanks to his roles in the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises, Ian McKellen has become an iconic part of mainstream pop culture, earning him notoriety with geeky fans he may never have had if he’d stuck to theatre and more serious, prestige roles. And if Tom Cruise had his way, McKellen might not have taken those roles and become the pop culture icon he is today.
If you have a basement, chances are you keep things like boxes of old stuff, disintegrating furniture and various household items in it. If you have a cool basement, you might have some pinball machines or something down there. But Peter Jackson has the coolest basement of all: the director had Bag End, the home of Bilbo Baggins, installed beneath his home.
After a staggering career that spanned more than sixty years actor, Christopher Lee has died. He was 93 years old. The BBC reports he passed away on Sunday “at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure.” The legendary actor appeared in over 240 movies.
The film world lost one of its great artists on Monday when Andrew Lesnie, the cinematographer on all six of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies passed away following a sudden heart attack. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lesnie was 59 years old.
Nicolas Cage in a Lord of the Rings film? It almost happened, if you can believe that. Cage was offered the role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson's trilogy but eventually turned it down. He would later explain, “[It] shot for a great quantity of time. I had family obligations, so I’m glad I stayed and had those experiences with my family.” This is just one of the facts packed into the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which travels to Middle-earth for The Lord of the Rings trilogy!
Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ring of Power was stripped from the hand of Sauron following the final battle with the Last Alliance and became of a keepsake of Prince Isildur. Now corrupted by the One Ring, Isildur fell in battle, losing the ring to the river. From there, “Isildur’s Bane” fell into the hands of the creature known as Gollum and from there, into the hands of the Hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. It was only through the efforts of the Fellowship of the Ring and the brave Frodo Baggins that the One Ring was destroyed forever ... or so we thought. Because the ring has fallen into the hands of a young Texas boy, who was suspended from school for wielding such an accursed tool.
Today in “surely you jest” news, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise director Peter Jackson has officially revealed where he stands on film franchises, blockbusters, and superhero movies. Although he’s been behind the wheel of two wildly successful film franchises for over a decade, it turns out that Jackson isn’t really a fan of the franchise mentality. And you definitely shouldn’t count on him to direct a Marvel movie anytime soon—or ever.
There seem to be two paths for monumentally popular pieces of art and entertainment once the initial excitement around them begins to wear off. Either they become a cultural touchstone, and become a part of the fabric of everyday communication, or they become a footnote, a piece of trivia relevant only as nostalgia and an occasional answer at bar trivia. I revisit Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy every few years, because I desperately want it to be the former and not the latter.