Hollywood actor Elijah Wood who played ‘Frodo’ in the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy said in a recent interview that the face of one of the monstrous and perverse characters in the film was inspired by Harvey Weinstein the former film producer convicted of sexually abusing dozens of actresses in exchange for giving them roles in his films.
Elijah Wood told the anecdote on the podcast ‘Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard’ as he recalled how difficult it had been to produce the film whose copyright had been acquired by Weinstein’s production company at the time, Miramax.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Miramax acquired the rights to the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, famous English writer and author of The Lord of the Rings, in the mid-1990s and even invested a few million dollars in its development.
However, producer and director Peter Jackson realized that the three films were not going to be made the way he had imagined, so they asked co-founder Harvey Weinstein to allow them to sell the films to other studios.
Miramax set conditions that seemed impossible to achieve: that they submit a trailer for the film within a week and sign a contract to produce the entire trilogy.
“The time window was insane,” Wood said. “Peter made a pitch video that’s pretty impressive, taken to a variety of places. Most people were balking at the notion of doing more than one film. The popular opinion was, ‘No, you have to see how [the initial movie] does and then invest the rest of your money.'”
Eventually, they hit upon the production company New Line Cinema, which agreed to make the entire trilogy.
It was at that point in the conversation that ‘Frodo’ told the incredible anecdote about Weinstein, who according to director and producer Peter Jackson himself, was a real bully.
“It’s funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan] and Bill [Boyd, who played Hobbits Merry and Pippin in the trilogy] have a podcast, The Friendship Onion. They were talking to Sean Austin [who played Samwise] about his first memory of getting to New Zealand,” recalled Wood. “He had seen these orc masks. And one of the orc masks — and I remember this vividly — was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a f*** you.'”
Wood added as the three of them laughed about the situation, “I think it’s okay to talk about it now, the guy’s fucking incarcerated. F*** him.”
Some media claim that the orc Wood referred to is Gothmog, who was the one who led the army of Sauron, the master of darkness, to fight the men.
The orcs, according to the same movie, were initially elves, beings of light with powers that became evil, were tortured, and were left unformed by the tortures. They cannot stand daylight and enjoy eating human flesh.
Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of abusing dozens of women actresses whom he abused in exchange for offering them roles in his films or recommending them.
Weinstein’s case gained notoriety when actress Rose McGowan accused the producer of raping her in 1997. Her denunciation triggered a chain of other women who also denounced him and the famous ‘Me too’ or ‘Me too’ movement was created.
Weinstein’s abuses occurred over a span of at least two decades so many say that the same film industry not only turned a deaf ear and a blind eye but facilitated the environment for this to happen.
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in New York and faces a possible sentence of another 140 years in the state of California.