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 Post subject: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 15th, 2014, 9:01 am 
Gondorian
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As we know, Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and LotR, but as for The Silmarillion and his other books the rights are still in Christopher Tolkien's possession, and he is relentless and negative about selling them. But who knows, maybe one day?...

So, do you think it is likely that we'll see adaptations of other Tolkien's books in future?
And even if so, are there any particular books, stories which you would like to see on a big screen?

I'd like to know your opinions!

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 15th, 2014, 9:49 am 
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I think as long as the Tolkien estate exists it will be really unlikely to see another Middle Earth book on the screen. There seems to have been a lot of controversies between the Tolkien estate and the producers/ studios that hold the rights for LotR and the Hobbit, especially related to tie-in merchandise. I don't think would encourage them to change their minds on releasing the rights to his other works. So I'm not hopeful on that front...

I don't think the Silm or UFT would transfer well to the screen, but there's still some great stories from it them, like Luthien and Beren, The Children of Hurin or the fall of Gondolin which could work better. But then I'm still not sure if I personally want a film or TV show of these, I love them, but I feel a film of them wouldn't give us a new perspective on Middle Earth or a fantasy story that we haven't seen before.

I wonder if we might someday get an adaptation of The Fall of Arthur or Sigurd and Gudrun, it probably wouldn't be based off Tolkien's poems, but as the original myths probably won't be under his copyright they seem the most possible to become films, a bit like Tristain and Isolde. King Arthur is always popular with Film/ TV writers, and Norse mythology is fairly popular at the moment thanks to Marvel and Thor.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 17th, 2014, 11:05 am 
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Yeah, it'd be a better idea to film a single story too, from Silmarillion. This could work, in comparison with filming the whole book. Though, in my opinion some things like the creation of Arda, Iluvatar, the Valar, the Music of the Ainur, and overall the very beginnings of Arda should stay in book and readers' imagination. These thing are too majestic (if it's a good word to describe them) to appear in a film, I think.

Unfortunately I haven't read those two other Tolkien's book (yet!) but since I like Arthurian legends I guess I'd be quite interested to see an adaptation of it, especially based on the book written by Tolkien. :]

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 17th, 2014, 11:33 am 
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I think that The Children of Húrin would be a fantastic film, or Beren and Lúthien. Something about Númenor's rise and fall would also be nice, or something about the second age in Middle Earth. But then.. I don't think that they're ever gonna do these movies, cause I don't think that people who don't know about Tolkien would want to see Silmarillion movies.. cause they could be interested but if they don't know anything about Silmarillion they would just get bored in the theatre.... does this make any sense?

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 17th, 2014, 5:05 pm 
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I also don't think Christopher Tolkien & co will ever agree with translating yet another book of Tolkien to the big screen. I never got the impression that they were very happy with the adaptations of the Hobbit and LotR, so I think they'll want to 'protect' his other works.

But besides that, I also don't think the Silm or Unfinished Tales are stories that can be translated to a movie or tv series. At least not suitable for a large audience. Of course no one would have expected LotR to turn into such a box office movie when they first started filming, but at least LotR has the advantage of a somewhat clear storyline, likeable and rememberable protagonists, and a storyline that ends after three movies/books. The stories in the Silm are always a bit open ended, yet they are too short to dedicate an entire film to each chapter. And the different chapters just don't have enough in common to be made into separate tv episodes. And besides that the stories in the Silm are more complicated, with many more characters who all seem to matter as much as the other - so it wouldn't be easy to leave some characters out.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see more Tolkien on the screen, be it movie or tv, because I like that it enables poor readers to enjoy his stories as well. But I don't think it's possible to film anything after the final part of the Hobbit.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 21st, 2014, 9:18 am 
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Nienor Níniel wrote:
I think that The Children of Húrin would be a fantastic film, or Beren and Lúthien. Something about Númenor's rise and fall would also be nice, or something about the second age in Middle Earth. But then.. I don't think that they're ever gonna do these movies, cause I don't think that people who don't know about Tolkien would want to see Silmarillion movies.. cause they could be interested but if they don't know anything about Silmarillion they would just get bored in the theatre.... does this make any sense?

I think it's something that happened to LotR films too – not everyone even heard about Tolkien before watching them, so today when Tolkien's books are so popular people may not have bigger troubles finding out what the Silmarillion is ;-) But yeah, the stories in the Silm are full of solemnity which is something that not everyone finds particularly appealing...

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 21st, 2014, 9:31 am 
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Lhunardaien wrote:
I also don't think Christopher Tolkien & co will ever agree with translating yet another book of Tolkien to the big screen. I never got the impression that they were very happy with the adaptations of the Hobbit and LotR, so I think they'll want to 'protect' his other works.

Sadly, imo money is a matter as well... I mean, Tolkien sold the rights for film and gadgets to some film company(ies), but the rights to any version of books, its heritage got his family. Generally speaking, what makes Tolkien family so against the films may be simply the fact that they get almost no profit from them.
If they dislike The Hobbit films then I'm inclined to believe that, but LotR?... I know, many things looks different than in the book (which is natural when making an adaptation) but honestly I can't see the enormity of disgrace and destruction in them, you still can feel the Middle-earth spirit!

I agree, most stories are too short to make a film, but The Children of Hurin is basically also a separate book with much more details than a chapter from the Silm, so this is one of the very few stories that could make rather a good film, I think. Obviously, some things like background and characters introduction could take the form of prolog, like in LotR. After all, LotR despite being consisted of 3 volumes is still like a little chapter of the whole Middle-earth legendarium.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 26th, 2014, 10:37 pm 
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Quote:
Sadly, imo money is a matter as well... I mean, Tolkien sold the rights for film and gadgets to some film company(ies), but the rights to any version of books, its heritage got his family. Generally speaking, what makes Tolkien family so against the films may be simply the fact that they get almost no profit from them.


I tend to doubt this. The Estate was not lacking in funds long before Peter Jackson came around.

Quote:
If they dislike The Hobbit films then I'm inclined to believe that, but LotR?... I know, many things looks different than in the book (which is natural when making an adaptation) but honestly I can't see the enormity of disgrace and destruction in them, you still can feel the Middle-earth spirit!


You're entitled to your opinion about that obviously, but so is Christopher Tolkien, along with plenty of people who agree with him about the first three Lord of the Rings adaptations.

Christopher Tolkien hated the first film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and his latest interview, which is more general of course, isn't exactly positive, to say the least.


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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 28th, 2014, 11:14 am 
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Elthir wrote:
I tend to doubt this. The Estate was not lacking in funds long before Peter Jackson came around.


Then why they applied for money after LotR movies achieved success? Why did they suddenly recall they should've got something too?

Well, I really respect Ch.Tolkien for what he did, I mean publishing The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth, The Children of Hurin... All that must have been a tough work to do, to put everything together. Without these books the Middle-earth would be poorer. But still I don't understand this hatred of LotR movies, if you only want you can see the beauty of that land, the power of friendship, or, on the technical side, e.g. wonderful music... It's kinda sad Ch.Tolkien is unable to notice that.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 28th, 2014, 8:41 pm 
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Nirielle wrote:
Then why they applied for money after LotR movies achieved success? Why did they suddenly recall they should've got something too?


But if the films made any money, if you are going to be paid a percentage of gross receipts I would think one would have to first wait to see what 'the number' is; and then some time would possibly go by before it's realized the percentage isn't going to materialize out of court. Anyway I would need a lot more details here, but I'm not sure they are easy to find out, and there could be a number of factors involved.

USA Today reported: 'The suit, filed Monday, claims New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who contend they only received an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began. The writer's estate, a British charity dubbed The Tolkien Trust, and original "Lord of the Rings" publisher HarperCollins filed the lawsuit against New Line Cinema in Los Angeles Superior Court.'

I'm not sure why you are characterizing 'suddenly' here, but if Tolkien sold the film rights with the legal right to a percentage, that should be honored in my opinion. If I recall correctly others sued too, also for funds not being properly distributed according to contracts.

Also the Tolkien Trust deals in millions for charity. Christopher Tolkien said publically [although I can't trace the source here yet]: 'The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of 'The Hobbit.'

USA Today: "The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court," Steven Maier, an attorney for the Tolkien estate based in Britain, said in a statement. "New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures."

And [USA Today again] 'Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they have spent the years since the movies hit theaters trying to negotiate a settlement with New Line. Other disputes over the film's earnings have surfaced in recent years. In 2004, Zaentz sued New Line, claiming the studio cheated him out of $20 million in royalties from the film trilogy, which he optioned to New Line for a percentage of the movies' profits. He and the film studio reached an out-of-court settlement a year later. Jackson's production company also tangled with New Line in 2005 over profits from the films. A lawsuit was settled last year.'

Quote:
Well, I really respect Ch.Tolkien for what he did, I mean publishing The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth, The Children of Hurin... All that must have been a tough work to do, to put everything together. Without these books the Middle-earth would be poorer. But still I don't understand this hatred of LotR movies, if you only want you can see the beauty of that land, the power of friendship, or, on the technical side, e.g. wonderful music... It's kinda sad Ch.Tolkien is unable to notice that.


In my opinion there is more to Tolkien's story than the power of friendship -- which generally speaking can be found in plenty of films or television shows, or even in brevity, in advertisements for example -- and even that can be drowned by other negative things in a film, subjective as 'negative' is, including 'negative' as in 'not faithful enough' to Tolkien. And for me there is certainly more to a film, or should be, than nice landscapes and nice music.

In any case is Christopher Tolkien not noticing the things you refer to here? Or does he just have a different approach than you to these films in general, and is arriving at a different conclusion and opinion.

There have been very different opinions concerning the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, all over the web for some time now, and not that you said otherwise, but Christopher Tolkien is certainly not alone in his opinion.

I don't really expect an answer to my question there, of course, I'm just pointing out [the obvious I admit] how subjective things can get with respect to these films.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 30th, 2014, 3:42 pm 
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I know New Line was due to pay a certain amount to Tolkien Estate and after a long lawsuit they did. I'm not trying to defend anyone, only to say it seems to me that most disappointment results from not only misrepresenting the book but also from unwillingness to share the money. It may be one of the reasons. Obviously they won't own up to it.
And your quotes don't really change my mind. On the one hand you have all the outrage at popularity of films, and on the other hand the people dragging the money out of this "terrible" (for them) popularity. They spit on films but yet have nothing against getting money from them. No matter if the money are due to them, it still looks not nice. And if 'problems' with getting them occur, they gets more and more against the films. Vicious circle.
Well, ok our views on that matter are just different, I shared mine but also respect yours.


Elthir wrote:
In my opinion there is more to Tolkien's story than the power of friendship -- which generally speaking can be found in plenty of films or television shows, or even in brevity, in advertisements for example -- and even that can be drowned by other negative things in a film, subjective as 'negative' is, including 'negative' as in 'not faithful enough' to Tolkien. And for me there is certainly more to a film, or should be, than nice landscapes and nice music.

Oh, but to me too – that's why I said "e.g. wonderful music". Sorry, if the movie had only "nice landscapes and nice music" I doubt I'd get to like it. There're also things like the idea, the atmosphere, the spirit. I just think it's a bit unfair to underestimate literally nothing. Even translating itself the over 1000-pages book into a coherent script requires quite a lot work... The changes are rather smaller percentage of the movies, some are negative too (yes, I can see them as well) but in actual fact none of them drastically changes the plot, it still goes in one direction.

Movies are made not only for those who have studied the books, but also who have simply read them. And for those who haven't even heard about them, too. LotR movies succeeded with good reason.
You may dislike them, you have every right to it and I'm fine with that, but an objective viewer can still at least appreciate some elements of films (if you only are not biased against them right from start).

And besides, keep in mind that after the films premiere the books sell has increased sharply and many people became fans. I think it's nothing wrong that it happened thanks to those "awful" films, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 30th, 2014, 7:27 pm 
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Nirielle wrote:
I know New Line was due to pay a certain amount to Tolkien Estate and after a long lawsuit they did. I'm not trying to defend anyone, only to say it seems to me that most disappointment results from not only misrepresenting the book but also from unwillingness to share the money. It may be one of the reasons. Obviously they won't own up to it.


Nor would they own up to something that isn't true of course. Christopher Tolkien said he hated the first film -- before the second film even came out.

Was there even the hint of any lawsuit at this point?

Quote:
And your quotes don't really change my mind. On the one hand you have all the outrage at popularity of films, and on the other hand the people dragging the money out of this "terrible" (for them) popularity. They spit on films but yet have nothing against getting money from them.


Well, do you think the Tolkien Trust should turn down money because they don't like the films? And what about the charity element? Or do you think Tolkien, or anyone, would put a clause in the original deal, something like [essentially]: 'we will only take our percentage if we like the films'

It's business, and no one would be forced to drag money out of anyone if New Line had simply paid what they legally owed to Saul Zaentz, the Tolkien Trust and HarperCollins, and Peter Jackson's own company.

Plenty of people have now made quite a lot of money by making these films, but the actual author of this already popular book naturally wants to provide a certain percentage for himself and his [growing] family when he is gone.


Quote:
Oh, but to me too – that's why I said "e.g. wonderful music". Sorry, if the movie had only "nice landscapes and nice music" I doubt I'd get to like it. There're also things like the idea, the atmosphere, the spirit. I just think it's a bit unfair to underestimate literally nothing. Even translating itself the over 1000-pages book into a coherent script requires quite a lot work... The changes are rather smaller percentage of the movies, some are negative too (yes, I can see them as well) but in actual fact none of them drastically changes the plot, it still goes in one direction.


Well yes, much of the general plot is there, I agree. But not, in my opinion, enough of Tolkien's characters, his morality, and not enough of the right tone or spirit. And for example, I think Jackson even stepped upon a major theme with his explanation of death to one of the Hobbits.

These things are subjective, yes, even if basic plot might be generally agreed upon. And for the record, I think Jackson tried to include too much of the book with respect to plot. His films are too long in my opinion.


Quote:
Movies are made not only for those who have studied the books, but also who have simply read them. And for those who haven't even heard about them, too. LotR movies succeeded with good reason. You may dislike them, you have every right to it and I'm fine with that, but an objective viewer can still at least appreciate some elements of films (if you only are not biased against them right from start).


Well it's not only those who study the books who dislike the films. And as far as succeeded -- in what sense: that they made a lot of cash for example? If so we can list plenty of films that made good money.

In any case maybe Christopher Tolkien does appreciate some elements of these films. When people are being brief and asked to sum up their feelings about a film they might naturally cut to the chase, for instance.

All I told you was that Christopher Tolkien hated the first film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. That's not even one sentence from the man himself, but a one word second hand report from Tolkien scholar Carl Hostetter [who nevertheless interacts with Christopher Tolkien]. Even the interview in the French Paper is notably brief...

... and moreover, does it matter much if Christopher Tolkien liked some aspects of these films if the negatives so swamped the positives [in his opinion] that the net result is still quite negative?

Quote:
And besides, keep in mind that after the films premiere the books sell has increased sharply and many people became fans. I think it's nothing wrong that it happened thanks to those "awful" films, right?


Even if so, I don't see why Christopher Tolkien should not be allowed to give his honest opinion of the films. And a lot of hard work goes into plenty of films that people dislike, of course -- but how often do we hear, in a negative review of some film, that at least the filmmakers worked hard and tried their best.

Plus, do you know the number of people who saw the films and will now never read the books because they think they know the story? This can't be known.

Or do you know the number of those who bought the books but didn't like them because they were unlike the films?

Media colonization seems a real thing, and I bet the author of The Wizard of Oz might agree with me.

Well, might ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: March 31st, 2014, 3:56 pm 
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Ok this is my "take" on the Tolkien Estate/ New Line Lawsuits.

From my recollection The Tolkien Estate first unsuccessfully took New Line to court in 2008 over failing to uphold and agreement made in the 1960s. New Line had agreed to pay a certain percentage and The Tolkien Estate following the films and felt that this hadn't been paid and took them to court. New Line notoriously screwed over a lot of figures involved including actors, producers and PJ because of not sharing the profits as initially promised. The Tolkien Estate's claim was declined but they later received compensation for the trouble. This allowed New line/ WB to get their hands on the rights to the Hobbit.

The second lawsuit with Middle Earth Enterprises in 2012 was over electrical and digital tie-ins, particularly gambling-games- which the Estate claimed had 'ruined' Tolkien's legacy and therefore demanded £80 million.

For me, it seems like the Tolkien Estates' like or dislike of the films has nothing to do with taking New Line and the Producers to court. It's all about the money. Both are extremely wealthy organisations- I think a lot of people overlook the fact the Tolkien Estate reaped the profits of the world's most popular fiction book- before the films even came out, and from personal experience, has the wealth to give away Tolkien's possessions that are worth hundreds of thousands. The Tolkien Estate, New Line and Middle Earth Enterprises all wanted to make as much money as possible- the fact the films were successful made them all the more indignant the money was rightully theirs- I'm sure the fact the actors won their suit against New Line in 2008 encouraged the Tolkien Estate to do the same.

And the Tolkien Estate aren't universally opposed to the films, so I don't think it's fair to say they hate the films popularity but want to reap all the profits. The subject of adaptation is a very divisive issue for the family and the estate. Simon Tolkien- the eldest son of Christopher was pro-adaptation and offered to assist the film makers and as a result had a huge falling out with his father-to the extent they didn't speak for years. Royd Tolkien a film producer was also unsurprisingly pro-films, even appearing in them. Yes Christopher is the Estate's director and the big voice, but his opinions don't solely dictate what the Estate, the Trust and other related organisations think or do.

In some way, I struggle to understand Christopher Tolkien's opposition to the Films. I'm not sure his dislike is entirely based on mis-represented themes. His Father was supportive of several horrific film proposals, such as one where The Beatles played the major characters (John Lennon as Gollum!), and another where Frodo and Galadriel had sex and Gimli was beaten until he remembered the password to the doors of Moria. But JRRT also withdrew his support from more faithful proposals because they chose to inter-cut Frodo and Aragorn's story lines. JRRT never said his work was un-filmable or unsuited to film in the way Christopher Tolkien has done, he certainly disliked some ideas (thankfully he later had a change of heart on the Beatles idea) but most of the early projects failed to get off the ground due to funding or director reluctance- not because JRRT disliked them.
At the same time, seeing someone else adapting a work that's important to you must be extremely difficult- a lot of recent successful book to film adaptations have had the authors involved in some way. I'm sure Christopher Tolkien has an insight and perception of his father's work that is far more in depth and detailed than anyone else's, which would naturally make him more sensitive to changes. However, I think he is more opposed to his father's work being commercialised rather than mis-represented. The Tolkien estate's website actively invites fans to write fan-fiction, which we all know can contain an endless number of weird and disturbing things, but stipulates you absolutely cannot profit from using the Tolkiens' intellectual property.

On another subject: I've been studying copyright law recently, for work. I'm not entirely clued up yet, but from what I've been reading I think Copyright on published work expires between 50-100 years after the death of the author. So in theory, if Christopher Tolkien dropped dead today, we could see a film of the Silmarillion as early as 2064! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 12:12 pm 
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In some way, I struggle to understand Christopher Tolkien's opposition to the Films. I'm not sure his dislike is entirely based on mis-represented themes. His Father was supportive of several horrific film proposals, such as one where The Beatles played the major characters (John Lennon as Gollum!), and another where Frodo and Galadriel had sex and Gimli was beaten until he remembered the password to the doors of Moria. But JRRT also withdrew his support from more faithful proposals because they chose to inter-cut Frodo and Aragorn's story lines. JRRT never said his work was un-filmable or unsuited to film in the way Christopher Tolkien has done, he certainly disliked some ideas (thankfully he later had a change of heart on the Beatles idea) but most of the early projects failed to get off the ground due to funding or director reluctance- not because JRRT disliked them.


Lembas, can you source where this information comes from? I guess it might depend somewhat upon what you mean by supporting a film proposal, but for example, what evidence is there to say that Tolkien supported the proposal from the Beatles? I don't recall anything at the moment, anyway.

And if you are talking about the John Boorman proposal [as in that proposal situations were sexualized], that was already out of Tolkien's hands, as the film rights had already been sold by 1970.


With respect to some of [emphasis on only 'some of'] what Tolkien said about films or television, in August 1964, in a letter to Miss Ward (this letter came up for auction), JRRT stated: 'I am delighted to hear of your great enjoyment of my book. As for Television, however, I am personally averse to dramatizations of my work, especially The Lord of the Rings, which is too long for reproduction without severe cutting and editing; in my view destructive, or at best severely damaging to a complicated but closely-woven story. But in such matters the inerests of my publishers must be considered. They are in any case primarily concerned in all questions of reproduction by any process (vide the copyright notice).' JRRT


And probably in June 1969 Tolkien wrote a letter about a proposed film, quoted by Joy Hill:'No film nor any 'version' in another medium could appear satisfactory to any devoted and attentive reader. On the other hand some of the greater pictorial and dramatic scenes could, with modern resources, be a moving experience. All possible precautions have been taken that the story should be presented without serious mutilation and without alteration or alterations.' JRRT, quote published by Hammond and Scull

I've no idea what Tolkien means about any 'precautions' here, in any event.


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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 4:47 pm 
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Re the Beatles. Maybe I was too strong with using the word support, but I don't think he opposed it or even blocked it being made- like most articles state. I think the project was an idea the Beatles had that never came to fruition, rather than a project JRRT actively stopped. David Hughes' Book Tales From Development Hell states creative differences between Lennon and McCartney and a failure to secure the rights due to competition from competitors with better credentials as the real reason the Beatles film never came about.

In regards to sources the whole issue is fairly sketchy. Most articles on the project cite a conversation between Peter Jackson and Paul McCartney following the release of the LotR films- nearly 40 years after the Beatles attempt. It's also fairly recent news that the Beatles wanted to make the film at all. Tolkien certainly disliked the Beatles, in 1964 he wrote so in a letter- but that's unsurprising- he, like many of his contemporaries who had endured Two World Wars were anti-teen culture. But from what I can gather, looking at comments from Paul McCartney and Heinz Eldeman whoart directed Yellow Submarine and drafted ideas for LotR, Lennon wanted to make LotR off the back off the popularity of Yellow Submarine (1968) which is four years later than Tolkien's letter. Articles on the subject only seem to refer to the letter as Tolkien's opposition to the film, but he wrote it to complain about the noise they were making when he lived 3 doors away from them- not as a criticism of their plans for his work. PJ claimed McCartney thought JRRT still had the rights at the time the Beatles looked to buy them, if this was after Yellow Submarine in 1968/9 Tolkien would have been heavily involved in negotiations with United Artists- and sale elsewhere incredibly unlikely. If it was before 1967 when JRRT began negotiations with UA, the Beatles still would have had stiff competition from other creative companies who would have better credentials to handle LotR than they did.

All the same, Tolkien had been pro-adaptation since 1957- so long as a film was profitable (his motivation for eventually selling the rights was to make money for his family) and wasn't Disney-fied. I think the Beatles film actually would have met this criteria, though not to Tolkien's liking! The film would have definitely made money, irrespective of quality, and Eldeman envisioned Beatle LotR with traditional Japanese aesthetics and muted colours... definitely not Disney!

So I think, based on the sources available (and not available), Tolkien just let the Beatles idea happen. I think he didn't like it because they were the Beatles and awful teen-culture, rather than their aims for the plot- which they've never proposed. And I think as his letters are so well documented if he had squashed the project there would be a letter or document somewhere saying this outright. I wonder how he'd react today if he found out John, Paul, George and Ringo- PJ's 3D camera's- ended up making the film after all!


Regards John Boorman, irrespective of the rights being sold, Tolkien was in a way involved with the project. The Tolkien Archive holds correspondence between Boorman and Tolkien that covers Boorman's creative ideas and intentions for the film- JRRT was the one to initiate contact, so he obviously felt it wasn't out of his hands, just because he'd sold the rights. I personally, don't know what these letters may say, as I've never seen them, nor can I find evidence from others who have, but to me, the fact that there was correspondence (that Boorman claimed outlined his ideas in detail) and that film was still presented to executives without Tolkien pulling the plug suggests he wasn't entirely against Boorman's film.


In relation to Tolkien's thoughts on LotR suitability to film, I think it's worth noting Tolkien in the 1950/60's wouldn't have considered a Trilogy of films possible. Star Wars in the 1970s really made the idea of one story told over three films a viable option- so he probably couldn't see how his work ever could be concentrated into at most 4-5 hours. At the same time he obviously felt every aspect of the story was important, because it played into the wider history of Middle Earth, rather than the contained story of LotR. Whilst it tells us a lot about Middle Earth's history, even Tolkien scholars and some of his greatest fans agree the council of Elrond is not good storytelling.

I feel that Tolkien ultimately put aside his concerns as to whether LotR was suit to film or not in favour of securing a future for his family. He had his opinions but they didn't stop him selling the rights to the films. He didn't sell the rights so that film makers could make a faithful adaptation- in 1969 he had no idea that his two published Middle Earth books would sell over a 100 million copies each, so they didn't guarantee a profit for his family. A lucrative sum from a film company however, did give him a healthy fund to pass to his children. I wonder if he felt he sacrificing the integrity of his work in doing this, and that's why he chose not to ensure he was directly involved in adapting the books into films, like some authors at the time did. Though, maybe he knew that studios, with the right money, would have done whatever they wanted in the end anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Possible future films?
PostPosted: April 2nd, 2014, 10:37 am 
Gondorian
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Lembas wrote:
Re the Beatles. Maybe I was too strong with using the word support, but I don't think he opposed it or even blocked it being made- like most articles state. (...) If it was before 1967 when JRRT began negotiations with UA, the Beatles still would have had stiff competition from other creative companies who would have better credentials to handle LotR than they did.


But if so, all we have so far is a lack of Tolkien's reaction here. I'm not sure what articles are pointing out that Tolkien didn't oppose this proposed film, or didn't block it, but the lack of anything concrete makes this an opinion to my mind.

In other words: Tolkien might have been very much opposed to this film, or very much wanted it not to happen, but it fell through on its own in any case. Or, he may have desired [by need] the 'cash', which however is hardly supporting a film with respect to potential artistic merits.

Quote:
All the same, Tolkien had been pro-adaptation since 1957- so long as a film was profitable (his motivation for eventually selling the rights was to make money for his family) and wasn't Disney-fied.


Well yes, but pro-adaptation for money is hardly support with respect to potential artistic merit. You didn't say otherwise but I'm just shining a spolight on this.

Quote:
Regards John Boorman, irrespective of the rights being sold, Tolkien was in a way involved with the project. The Tolkien Archive holds correspondence between Boorman and Tolkien that covers Boorman's creative ideas and intentions for the film- JRRT was the one to initiate contact, so he obviously felt it wasn't out of his hands, just because he'd sold the rights.


Well, point taken [not wholly out of his hands in all senses], but the project was out of his hands in that the rights were already sold and thus he wouldn't have any legal right to control even a single idea Boorman desired or was considering. Despite what Tolkien says about 'precautions' in the above quote I don't see how he can be referring to any legal right with respect to the potential making of any future films.

And whether or not Tolkien supported any of Boorman's ideas [sexualized situations or other], or supported the project as a whole despite certain revisions he might object to, remains to be seen so far [or so it appears without the letters].

Quote:
I personally, don't know what these letters may say, as I've never seen them, nor can I find evidence from others who have, but to me, the fact that there was correspondence (that Boorman claimed outlined his ideas in detail) and that film was still presented to executives without Tolkien pulling the plug suggests he wasn't entirely against Boorman's film.


But Tolkien can't pull the plug as I say. That plug was out of his hands :)

And if you add 'entirely' against, then a measure of support in what sense? We would need to see what the letters say: if Tolkien knew of certain ideas beforehand, perhaps he presented his objections in a hopeful plea that Boorman would change things, along with suggestions about what to do instead of what Boorman was going to do, or desired to do...

... but only because, again, Tolkien was now powerless to stop a film adaptation in any case. He had no control of whether the film would be made or not, but if made and if popular he would gain further income, yes. And I think it's only natural that JRRT desire a faithful adaptation, and so it's not that unnatural for him to try and press his opinions if he felt a project was possibly going ahead.

Quote:
In relation to Tolkien's thoughts on LotR suitability to film, I think it's worth noting Tolkien in the 1950/60's wouldn't have considered a Trilogy of films possible. Star Wars in the 1970s really made the idea of one story told over three films a viable option- so he probably couldn't see how his work ever could be concentrated into at most 4-5 hours. At the same time he obviously felt every aspect of the story was important, because it played into the wider history of Middle Earth, rather than the contained story of LotR. Whilst it tells us a lot about Middle Earth's history, even Tolkien scholars and some of his greatest fans agree the council of Elrond is not good storytelling.


Tolkien himself doesn't seem entirely consistent over the years here -- which is why I noted that the citations above were only 'some' of his statements. For example in other commentary [probably the Zimmerman letter] he advises a rather drastic cut in the film [within a theortical context, something about the battle of Helm's Deep and the Battle before Minas Tirith], for both artistic and, I would guess, time related reasons...

... and never once [that I'm aware of] objects to the Zimmerman proposal as far as representing only one film [assuming that it was only to be one film, admittedly]. Of course that's a 'lack' of evidence too, I admit again, and we don't have all of Tolkien's statements regarding this treatment. Still, if JRRT was pepared to deal in cash or kudos early on, wouldn't he have known, at least generally, the time frame, or general duration of the film -- or at least if he was dealing with only one film?

I think Tolkien changed his mind over the years regarding a film adaptation, but in the end he needed the money and felt obliged to stick to his earlier 'cash or kudos' deal with his publisher...

... who perhaps notably, seems to have later reminded Tolkien about that former deal :)


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