Lord of The Rings -The Making Of - Part 1
Excerpt from the Ralph Bakshi Art Book titled 'UNFILTERED - THE COMPLETE RALPH BAKSHI' By Jon Gibson and Chris McDonnell. Published by RIZZOLI
A few cigarettes, coffee (black), steak and eggs with plenty of
ketchup, and the latest edition of Variety - that was Ralph's
morning routine since he'd moved to L.A.
But in late '76, he couldn't get his eyes off one story in particular. "United
Artists paid John Boorman $3 million for a Lord of the Rings script,
squashing all three books into one picture. I thought, 'That's insanity!'It
sounded impossible. I've loved Tolkien since my Terrytoons days - and
I was going to make that picture! I called for a meeting with UA right
Shortly after the trilogy was published in 1955, J. R. R. Tolkien awarded
adaptation rights to Walt Disney to make an animated film. At one point,
the studio courted The Beatles to play the four lead Hobbits - that
didn't fly. Eventually, Disney's option was transferred to United Artists.
"[UA president Mike] Medavoy told me that that Boorman turned in a
700-page draft and added a bunch of characters. It was unfilmable! They
weren't gonna make it! So I pitched my idea for an animated trilogy and
Medavoy said I could have the rights only if I got him the three mil they
lost on Boorman's script. I said, 'Okay!"
Just down the hall from Medavoy was Dan Melnick, president of MGM.
"The secretary wouldn't let me in because he was in a meeting, so I told her
to type this message to him: 'Ralph Bakshi is here with the rights to Lord
of the Rings.' A minute later, the door swung open and out comes Peter
Bogdonavich. He was pissed, said that whole, 'You'll never work in this
town again'line, and walked off fuming. Then Melnick shakes my hand,
and after a short meeting agrees to pay United Artists the three mil."
Hours later, Ralph had his next epic fantasy picture.
Until Melnick got fired and his replacement, Dick Shepherd, canned the
To be continued....