New Zealand’s best known movie maker will film an $800 million adaptation of JR Tolkiens book The Silmarillion it was revealed today.
The announcement was made by Robert Shaye, co-CEO of New Line Cinema who will be funding and distributing the five films.
‘We are pleased to announce that we now own the adaptation rights to this book and that Peter Jackson has agreed to produce and direct it,’ Shaye said.
While the rights to Tolkien book The Hobbit were recently sold off for multi-million dollar sums Shaye told reporters that The Silmarillion was ‘surprisingly cheap.’
‘Nobody owned it,’ Shaye said. ‘The Tolkien estate gave it to us for virtually nothing. Isn’t that crazy?’
Details of the adaptation are scare. It is understood that it will consist of five films, each roughly twenty hours long – although it is understood that the initial cinematic releases might be edited down to less than a dozen hours.
The first film, Ainulindalë is scheduled for release in 2018 but already fans of Jackson and Tolkien are buzzing with anticipation.
‘This is going to be totally awesome,’ wrote independent film critic Harry Knowles on his popular web-review site AintitCool.com. ‘I can’t wait to see the scene where Eru is singing and the rest of the Ainur join in but Melkor wants to sing his own song. That is just gonna be balls-to-the-wall f**king amazing – especially if the rumours about Christopher Walken playing Melkor are true. Christopher Walken rocks!’
It is also understood that Jackson is planning to move away from digital representations of large battles – many of which occur in the third film, the Quenta Silmarillion.
‘What we did with Lord of the Rings was groundbreaking at the time but is now standard in the industry,’ said a spokesperson for Weta workshop. ‘What Peter hopes to do this time around is film real battles with real weapons and real carnage.’
The Screen Actors Guild has yet to comment on Jacksons plan to butcher his cast but legions of Tolkien fans are signing up to die for the film.
‘I’d like to be eaten by a Balrog in the Battle of Sudden Flame, but I’ll probably end up being stabbed by some Orc,’ said one fan. ‘But that’s okay too.’
Jackson will need to keep some Tolkien fanatics alive, since all dialog in the film will be delivered in the fictional languages Quenya and Eldarin. The movies will not feature subtitles.
‘If that’s Peter’s vision then that’s what we want to do,’ Bob Shaye told reporters at a post-announcement press conference. ‘As far as I’m concerned it’s now Peter’s eight hundred million dollars and I know he’ll make five great movies with it.’
Shaye also admitted that he personally had not found time to read The Silmarillion but he was not concerned about its commercial prospects.
‘Peter Jackson and Tolkien,’ he said. ‘How can you go wrong?’