Regardless of how big the buzz has been on the project, New Line is still well aware of what a big risk it is bringing Tolkien’s epic story to the screen. Robert Shaye, founder and CEO of New Line, addresses the risks involved in making the trilogy in one fell swoop… and a lot of money… saying, "Could it backfire? Sure, if the first film is a disaster it doesn't augur very well for the next two… [b]ut -- and I'm knocking on my desk here -- we feel very certain that this has a universal currency in terms of interest, and we think it could be a franchise right off the shelf."
Shaye and company are playing it smart, defraying the expenses up front with a number of international financial partners as well as "serious lucre in merchandising and licensing deals" to come.
Shaye and New Line prez Michael Lynne also talked of how the production was brought to them after Jackson was unable to craft the epic into a two-part film series, with the helmer noting, "any attempt to compress the story or simplify it would disappoint." Jackson didn’t just come bearing scripts, but a short video reel demonstrating a number of the film’s potential creatures. Lynne’s assessment of the video? "It was amazing: things we hadn't seen before, that played tricks with perception, with how vision works. We were blown away."
Regarding the current production, the paper notes that the films have 85 speaking parts, noting that none of those parts will be filled by still rumored Sean Connery. On this point, Jackson is quoted as saying, "Never talked to him."
As far as the special effects are concerned, Jackson was asked if he had any concerns that the visuals on the screen might eclipse the actors. Jackson answered, "Lord of the Rings is wonderful source material, an amazingly intricate epic story with wonderful characters. We're just trying to take all the great stuff from the books and use modern technology to give audiences a night at the movies quite unlike anything they have ever seen before."
As far as plans to further promote the production, the Journal reports that New Line will be doing a series of videotape interviews with Jackson as well as conduct Internet remote chats from and during the production.