- Elijah Wood said a “Lord of The Rings” Orc was modeled on Harvey Weinstein.
- Wood said the gesture was a “fuck you” to the disgraced producer.
- The “Lord of The Rings” films had initially been developed at Weinstein’s Miramax studios.
Elijah Wood told Dax Shepard’s popular “Armchair Expert” podcast that one of the monstrous Orcs from “Lord Of The Rings” was designed to resemble Harvey Weinstein as a “fuck you” to the disgraced film producer.
As Wood explained during the podcast, producer-director Peter Jackson spent years attempting to develop his vision for the fantasy film series at Weinstein’s Miramax studio, which owned the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s book series. Weinstein and Jackson’s relationship, however, became increasingly strained as Weinstein demanded Jackson make only one film from Tolkien’s three books. It has also been reported that Weinstein threatened to replace Jackson with Quentin Tarantino.
Jackson eventually persuaded Weinstein to allow him to pitch the films to other studios, but he was given only a weekend to secure a deal. The films eventually landed at New Line Cinema under producer Bob Shaye.
“I think the lore is that they were coming with two and it was Bob Shaye who said, ‘We have to do three,’ which is insane. An incredible risk. Miramax thought there was no chance in hell,” Wood said.
“It’s funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan] and Bill [Boyd], who played Hobbits Merry and Pippin in the trilogy have a podcast, ‘The Friendship Onion.’ They were talking to Sean Astin [Samwise] about his first memory of getting to New Zealand,” Wood continued. “He had seen these orc masks. And one of the orc masks — and I remember this vividly — was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a fuck you.”
Wood added that he believed it is safe to talk about this now because Weinstein is “fucking incarcerated.”
“Fuck him,” Wood concluded.
Later during the podcast, Wood spoke about the scramble to find new backers for Jackson’s trilogy after Weinstein’s ultimatum.
“The window of time was insane,” Wood said. “They shopped it around town. Peter made a pitch video that’s pretty impressive, taken to a variety of places. Most people were balking at the notion of doing more than one film. The popular opinion was, ‘No, you have to see how [the initial movie] does and then invest the rest of your money.'”
Peter Jackson did, of course, end up shooting all three “Lord of The Rings” films simultaneously and entirely in his native New Zealand from 11 October 1999 until 22 December 2000. The trilogy went on to become one of the most successful film series of all time taking home almost $3 billion at the worldwide box office. And in 2014, Jackson concluded the spin-off “Hobbit” series.
In 2020, Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for two counts of sexual assault. Last month, the disgraced producer was extradited from prison in upstate New York to face charges of rape, battery, and other sex crimes. He pled not guilty during a recent hearing.