Where Hobbits dare

Our house is fairly well-stocked with books by Brian Sibley about various aspects of the Lord of the Rings movies. Well-enough, I had thought, until I read an excerpt in the Times the other day from his latest — a biography of Peter Jackson. The Times article focuses on the meetings between the Weinstein brothers and Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh, at the time when Miramax was considering providing the backing. (In the event, the films were financed by New Line.) I particularly liked this part:

“Bob Weinstein had obviously read the treatment, or skipped through it, but I remember this moment as if a lightbulb had gone on and there was almost a palpable moment of sudden understanding. Bob said: ‘Wait! So the Elf is like a bowman, shooting arrows, yeah? And the Dwarf has got axes and he can throw axes? And Sam, he’s got this magic rope, right? And Frodo’s got this light thing?’ Then he got really excited and you could see there was this moment of utter revelation and he said: ‘It’s like that movie where they had the explosives expert and the code expert and the marksman and they all had their own special skill . . . It’s the f****** Guns of Navarone!’

“The best thing to do in these meetings is try and keep a straight face and, occasionally, kick each other under the table, which Fran and I were prone to doing.”

Almost enough to make me buy the book, though I’ve never yet read a celebrity biography that I’ve enjoyed, with the exception of Wired by Bob Woodward. (I read that one only because I read all Bob Woodward’s books.)

The Times article was published on 26 Oct, so will only be freely available for a few more days.

5 thoughts on “Where Hobbits dare

  1. Far be it from me (of all people) to try to persuade to read the ENTIRE book (especially as it’s getting on for 600 pages long!) but there are, I think, some fascinating anecdotes within PJ’s story (such as the one you have quoted) which give an insight into the bizarre machinations of Hollywood and seriously cause one to wonder how ANY films (that are ANY GOOD!) ever get made at all! 🙂

  2. Usually the good films are the indies — low budgets, but high artistic qualities: intelligent scripts, developed characters, great acting (often by relative unknowns).
    On the other hand, there have been some really good mainstream movies in the last couple of years. The film that won Best Picture this year was definitely one of them. If you want to understand America’s Greatest Problem (even greater than the Iraq War, which has only been going on a couple of years, as opposed to over 300 for the Greatest Problem), then I urge you to see “Crash.”

  3. Wow– I just realized who left the comment before mine. Mr. Sibley– the excerpts of your book in The Times definitely make me want to read it. I’m already a huge fan of Peter Jackson and I’ve been wondering for the longest time how he made his way to Hollywood and, once there, how he liked it. (I fear our national obsession with thinness has affected him — he’s dropped his teddy bear look for something far more svelte. Please don’t tell us he had his stomach stapled or something.)
    At any rate, I’ll buy the book (at least, I will if I can’t get it for free from our book editor — I review books for him and extra copies are for the takin’!).

  4. Yes, thank you Brian for your comment — I will certainly buy your book now!
    According to Brian’s website, Susan, the PJ bio is £20 on UK Amazon— cheap at the price I am sure. In fact, I think I will ask for it for Christmas — solves my annual problem of what on earth to ask for.

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