Elijah Wood has revealed some behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the filming of the beloved trilogy Lord of the Rings.
In an interview with Dax Shepard for his podcast Armchair Expert, the 40-year-old LOTR and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind actor spoke candidly about the internal workings of production for the three Peter Jackson-directed movies.
Elijah insinuated that recently-incarcerated producer Harvey Weinstein almost prevented the films from going through at all and that Jackson created at least one of his multitude of orcs to embody the disgraced producer’s facial features as retaliation.
According to Elijah, Weinstein had tried to halt the production of the trilogy and force Jackson to squeeze all three books into only one movie.
Apparently, there was animosity that built up between Peter and Harvey due to the conflicts, and the director took his frustration out when filming began.
“He [Peter Jackson] 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 “**k you,” Elijah told Dax.
A Hollywood mogul disgraced
Weinstein, once a major Hollywood fixture, fell from grace as a producer after being accused of sexual harassment in 2017 by multiple women, including actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
Just three days after the scathing and shocking report came out, Harvey was fired by the board of his company, with claims that new information had come out about the allegations against the producer.
On October 10, 2017, The New Yorker published a detailed account from thirteen more women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mira Sorvino, who had come forward to accuse Harvey of sexual harassment, misconduct, and three counts of rape.
On October 15, two actresses claimed Harvey raped them, and by November, the first civil claim against the producer was sent to the High Courts in the UK.
Peter Jackson said he was purposefully led astray by Harvey Weinstein during casting for LOTR
In December 2017, Peter Jackson stepped forward as another voice against the producer, alleging that Harvey had convinced him not to hire Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd.
According to The Guardian, Jackson remembered the events leading up to his blacklisting of the actresses,” saying, “I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs.” Weinstein and his brother originally owned Miramax.
“At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us,” he continued, “But in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women.”
Mira Sorvino took to Twitter that same day to express her gratitude to the director for his honesty, writing that she “burst out crying” after Peter’s admission and that it gave her much-needed “confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed [her] career.”
A conviction that supported the allegations
After a slurry of other accusers stepped forward between the fall of 2017 and the end of 2019, Harvey was brought to court on January 6, 2020, to stand trial for his alleged actions.
With two more actresses taking the stand to detail their accounts of being raped by Harvey at separate points in time, the prosecution rested as of February 13 and jury deliberations began.
After five arduous days, the jury determined that Harvey was guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree along with the conviction of third-degree rape. Harvey was sentenced to 23 years in prison on March 11, 2020.
Fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy are now eagerly awaiting the release on Amazon Prime of a new series by the same name.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings is set to be released starting September 2, 2022