Fan favorite director Peter Jackson allegedly modeled an Orc mask after disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein for The Lord of the Rings.

Jackson and Weinstein had been at odds for a number of years, with The Lord of the Rings’ Elijah Wood famously stating that an Orc mask had been designed to look like Weinstein following their fallout over the trilogy adaptation.

Peter Jackson, New Zealand director of The Lord of
Photo by Robert Patterson/Getty Images

Peter Jackson modelled an Orc mask after Weinstein

In October 2021, lead actor Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins) sat down with the Armchair Expert podcast to reflect on The Lord of the Rings production and the legacy of the iconic franchise.

A fascinating episode that remains a must-listen for all LOTR fans, one of the standout moments was when Wood claimed that an Orc mask was specifically designed to look like disgraced producer, Harvey Weinstein.

“It’s funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan – Merry] and Bill [Boyd – Pippin] were talking to Sean Astin [Samwise] about his first memory of getting to New Zealand. 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 f*** you.”

Wood would then add: “I think that is OK to talk about now, the guy is f****** incarcerated. F*** him.”

For those fans unaware of some of the drama going on behind-the-scenes for The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson and Harvey Weinstein had already been at odds with each other for a number of years by this point.

Jackson had pitched the film adaptation of Tolkien’s work to Weinstein’s production company Miramax in around 1995, but the company originally wanted to give the greenlight to just one LOTR movie, instead of an entire trilogy like how Jackson envisioned.

According to Jackson, Weinstein had even threatened to replace him with screenwriter Hossein Amini and directors John Madden or Quentin Tarantino, with Jackson believing that this was an empty threat meant to force him to concede to making just one LOTR movie.

Jackson would then request permission to find a different producer; to which Weinstein agreed, but on the stipulation that Jackson find a new producer within just one weekend!

“The window of time was insane,” Wood said, adding that “They shopped it around town” and “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 [one movie] does and then invest the rest of your money.’”

Wood also revealed that it was only after the script leaked online and New Line Cinema’s Bob Shaye became interested in taking over that the pieces of the puzzle began coming together:

“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.”

Hilariously, there is even a popular fan theory that in the ending credits of The Lord of the Rings on the card when the Weinstein brothers are cited, a man can be seen fighting two enormous trolls in the background; which some claim is a subtle nod to Jackson’s battle with the brothers.

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