The Fab Four had discussed plans to appear in a big screen production with Stanley Kubrick in 1968, after discovering J.R.R. Tolkien’s book series during their trip to India. If it had gone ahead, Jackson – whose three-part Beatles documentary Get Back just launched on Disney+ – might never have been able to make his own set of award-winning Middle-earth movies.
“I’ve been scraping together little pieces of information,” Jackson told the BBC in a new interview. “I’ve been interrogating Paul [McCartney] about it. Ringo [Starr] doesn’t remember much.” He continued: “John [Lennon], Paul and George [Harrison] each got one Lord of The Rings book to read in India. And they got excited about it. Ultimately, they couldn’t get the rights from Tolkien, because he didn’t like the idea of a pop group doing his story. So it got nixed by him. They tried to do it. There’s no doubt about it. For a moment in time they were seriously contemplating doing that at the beginning of 1968.”
He said McCartney couldn’t verify the suggestion that he’d planned to play Frodo Baggins while Lennon wanted to be Gollum, Harrison would have been Gandalf and Starr would have been Sam Gamgee, but he did believe “that is the case.” He added: “Paul said, ‘Well I’m glad we didn’t do it, because you got to do yours and I liked your film.’ But I said to him, ‘Well, it’s a shame you didn’t do it, because it would have been a musical.’
“What would The Beatles have done with a Lord of The Rings soundtrack album? That would have been 14 or 15 Beatles songs that would have been pretty incredible to listen to. So I’ve got two minds about it. I would have loved to hear that album, but I’m also glad I got the chance to do the films. But those songs would have been fascinating.”
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