Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shut Up & Drink Your Tea

Read yesterday (shame on me for missing it) that the cranky heirs of author J.R.R. Tolkien are up in arms yet again over New Line’s recent film adaptation of “LOTR,” complaining that the family has not seen bupkis in residuals from the trilogy’s worldwide mega-box office.

As such, Christopher Tolkien—who, save his grandson Royd, has never endorsed J.R.R.’s work being put to film—and clan are suing New Line for a piece of the action, which may delay (or entirely halt) current plans for a new movie production of “The Hobbit” under the guidance of Peter Jackson.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but J.R.R. Tolkien’s heirs aren’t owed a proverbial red shilling from any “LOTR” movie profits.


Tolkien sold the film rights to “LOTR” and “The Hobbit” before his death in 1973, and unless any prior deal was struck with the author on points—which I seriously doubt—his estate is owed nothing further from New Line.

Thus, my advice to Tolkien’s surviving family is to bugger off.

Peter Jackson’s treatment of “LOTR” didn’t only respect J.R.R. Tolkien’s—very windy--source material, it vastly improved upon it,,,despite, y’know, a certain homoerotic subtext involving Frodo and Sam.

Not that there’s anything wrong with hobbits exploring their sexuality, mind you, especially in highly stressful situations. I mean, in a way, it's perfectly understandable.

PS (4-6-08): Was watching a retrospective on Tolkien this afternoon, including a rather frightening snippet that the Beatles once lobbied J.R.R. for the film rights to “LOTR” so they could make a movie of the trilogy starring the band in major roles (e.g. John Lennon as Gollum, Paul McCartney as Frodo, Ringo Starr as Sam, and George Harrison as Gandalf).

However, as the following piece from 2002 explains, Tolkien had the presence of mind to reject the Fab Four’s idea.

May I speak for the group a moment? Thank Christ.

Although a part of me wonders how a Beatle-fied screenplay of “LOTR” would have read. I’m guessing the Fellowship spent a lot of time with the elves—truly the flower children of Middle Earth—dropping acid, and debating the nature of good and evil amidst late-night binges of Funyuns and Jack-In-The-Box.


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