Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Interview of Peter Jackson

Aired February 22, 2002 - 09:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It turns out 13 is a lucky number for the producers of the Hollywood hit, "Lord of the Rings," as in 13 Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture. The film adaptation of Tolkien's literary masterpiece has become a critical and box office success, to say the least, but the real story behind "Lord of the Rings" is how close it came to never being made.

Here to fill us in is the film's Oscar-nominated director, Peter Jackson. Thanks very much for being with us.

PETER JACKSON, DIRECTOR, "LORD OF THE RINGS": Pleasure.

COOPER: I'm a huge fan of yours, starting out with "Heavenly Creatures" in 1994, I really like your work a lot.

JACKSON: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: It is amazing to me that this is a movie which almost did not get made. Miramax passed on at first, isn't that right?

JACKSON: Yeah. Well, we originally developed it with them, and developed it as two movies, because as people are probably aware, we've ended up doing three. But, originally it was two, and we worked with Miramax for at least two years on it, writing the screenplays. We did a whole lot of work on pre-production, designing, and then it got to the point that Miramax -- it was actually too expensive for them to make. They tried to talk us into reducing it into one film.

COOPER: How much was it going to cost at that point?

JACKSON: Well, the two-movie version was like 130, 150 million.

COOPER: Right.

JACKSON: They had a budget limit of about 75, and they are owned by Disney, and apparently Disney didn't want them to spent any more than that on "Lord of the Rings".

COOPER: You took it to New Line Cinemas.

JACKSON: Well, we -- yeah, we had a real problem on our hands because they -- because we were told by Miramax to -- just to squash it all into one movie, which we just thought would be a disaster. So, it got, basically, put into turn around, and we had four weeks -- they gave four weeks to set it up somewhere else, and so we went to New Line Cinema, to Bob Shaye, and Bob sort of -- Bob was great. He just said, you know, I don't understand why you would be doing two, why don't we do three? Isn't it three books? It should be three films. So, it was like a dream come true.

COOPER: Yeah. Now, this is really the first time a movie has been made like this. Do you think is going to change the way sequel -- serial films are made?

JACKSON: I don't think so. I mean, you have got to realize just what a huge gamble New Line took. They financed three huge movies that we shot back to back, shot them all at the same time over a 15- month period, it was like $270 million was spent, and that, you know, that's basically a big risk.

COOPER: It's a huge gamble.

JACKSON: If -- you have not opened the first movie, and if the first movie opens and bombs, then you have got a serious problem. But I think everybody had confidence in the fact that it was the "Lord of the Rings," which is obviously one of the most popular books of all time, and so, it's a wonderful case of a really brave gamble by a studio that actually paid off in this instance. But, if other studios were to gamble, you know, at some point, it won't pay off. So, I don't think it is going to become a habit.

COOPER: Well, do you see -- how about for you? Do you see this changing your career? I mean, obviously, I know this opens up all sorts of doors for you in Hollywood, but...

JACKSON: Well, it is kind of interesting, because -- I mean, you're right, it does open up doors, but they are not really doors I want to walk through. I'm kind of -- I'm kind of -- I'm New Zealand based. I'm like a New Zealand independent filmmaker, and I have got my little set up, because the "Lord of the Rings" was entirely made down there. And I know, but we're quite happy to say down there, to be completely honest.

COOPER: Do people in L.A. know what to make of you?

JACKSON: No. No. I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to them all, but they are used to seeing that.

COOPER: Well, I also heard a story that during the entire filming of "Lord of the Rings," you wore one pair of shoes and you only wore two t-shirts.

JACKSON: Well, no. I wore about four or five t-shirts. Ian McKellen spreads the story that it was only two. But he must have missed a few of my other colors.

COOPER: But one pair of shoes is accurate.

JACKSON: Yeah, one pair of shoes. I've still -- in fact, it's these shoes here. These are the actual shoes I wore through...

COOPER: Are you serious, really?

JACKSON: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well you can see, they're pretty grubby. These are the actual shoes I wore through 15 months of shooting. They are very comfortable. I like them. They're my good luck shoes.

COOPER: Fair enough. Have you bought a new pair since...

JACKSON: No. They're the only pair I own.

COOPER: You film has made like $700 million worldwide. You haven't bought a new pair of shoes?

JACKSON: No. No, I'm sentimentally attached to these, even though they are starting to get a bit smelly.

COOPER: I didn't even notice. All right, Peter Jackson, thanks very much for coming in. The film is just amazing. Good luck in the...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There they are.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Look at those, Anderson. We just showed his tootsies.

COOPER: Oh yeah? All right.

ZAHN: Yeah, we just got a close up of the feet.

COOPER: Well, they are a fine pair of shoes, as they should be.

ZAHN: Hey, all of us would fantasize about walking in those shoes and making a film, and so far grossing $700 million. Congratulations! Thanks, Peter.

JACKSON: Thank you.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top