'Lord of the Rings' Was Almost One Movie Directed by John Madden

[caption id="attachment_21531" align="alignleft" width="300"]Cate Blanchett in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" New Line[/caption]

Peter Jackson has been making the rounds promoting this latest fantasy epic but recently, "The Hobbit" director and his co-screenwriters, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, revealed they almost lost "The Lord of the Rings" series to a different director and screenwriting team.

When Jackson and the writers went to Harvey Weinstein for the green light, they pitched doing "The Hobbit" first and (if it was successful) two "Lord of the Rings" movies after. Because of the way the rights were set up, however, Weinstein wanted them to do "The Lord of the Rings" first, and in only one movie.

Weinstein laid down the law, saying, "You've got to make one movie, or I'm going to take it away from you, and I've got John Madden lined up to direct the one movie, and I've got Hossein Amini to write the screenplay."

Not that we don't love Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") and Amini ("Snow White and the Huntsman"), but that seems kinda harsh. Which is when Jackson's manager jumped in and worked some magic to get Weinstein to give them one month to try and set it up somewhere else as two films, IndieWire reports. If they didn't get it together, he would take it back and that would be the end for them. Sounds like a movie in itself.

They were on their way, except for one small detail. No studios were taking the bait.

"They didn't even meet with us. They didn't want to meet with us. They just said, 'No, no no.'" So Jackson and his team did what any Hollywood professionals would in their situation: they lied. They kept canceling their meeting with New Line, the one studio still willing to give them a shot.

"We put this whole pretense on that this project was so eagerly sought after, which is complete crap." Finally, they went into New Line's office at the end of the week to meet with Bob Shaye, who said, "I don't know why you want to do two films… [drum roll please] when there's there's three books? Why wouldn't you do three films?"

And that, dear friends, is what we call a Hollywood ending.