Peter Jackson mourns the passing of Lord of the Rings star Ian Holm

Peter Jackson has bid a final farewell to his The Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian Holm, who passed away on Friday. The British actor lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease, aged 88, and both fans and colleagues have been paying tribute to the cinema …

Peter Jackson has bid a final farewell to his The Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian Holm, who passed away on Friday.

The British actor lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease, aged 88, and both fans and colleagues have been paying tribute to the cinema star, whose other film credits include Chariots of Fire, Alien, and The Fifth Element, among many others.

His casting as Bilbo Baggins in Jackson’s 2001 epic The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring earned Holm legions of new fans around the globe, and the New Zealand filmmaker shared a touching tribute to the star in a Facebook post.

“I’m feeling very sad at the passing of Sir Ian Holm,” the director wrote. “Ian was such a delightful, generous man. Quiet, but cheeky, with a lovely twinkle in his eye.

“Back in early 2000, before we started shooting our Bilbo scenes for The Fellowship of the Ring, I was nervous about working with such an esteemed actor, but he immediately put me at ease.”

He said Holm “rarely needed direction” and recalled how the Oscar nominee kept the kids on set amused with tall tales during a storytelling scene.

Holm also starred in two of the three The Hobbit prequel films, though he initially told Jackson he wouldn’t reprise his famous role due to his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

“He had difficulty walking, and certainly couldn’t travel to New Zealand (the film’s location). Always a private man, he told us that he’d basically retired, but wasn’t announcing it,” Jackson explained. “This was a blow because we had worked out a nice way to hand the role over from Ian as Old Bilbo, to Martin Freeman as Young Bilbo. I described this to him, and he liked it.”

Jackson explained to Holm how his mother and uncle had both endured Parkinson’s and ventured they could shoot his scenes in London, with the actor eventually agreeing.

“I knew he was only doing it as a favour to me, and I held his hands and thanked him with tears in my eyes,” he remembered. “In the finished movie, I hope that audiences just see Ian Holm reprising Bilbo. But what I experienced on set was a wonderful actor delivering his last performance. It was incredibly brave of him to do that, and very emotional for those who witnessed it. We will always be enormously grateful to Ian for doing that.”

He finished his note by telling fans: “Watching Ian Holm perform taught me so much – as Ian was being his usual quiet self, that just somehow happened. It was a privilege to work with him, and a blessing to know him… Farewell, dear Bilbo. Safe travels, darling Ian.”

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Julian Fellowes to adapt The Wind in the Willows for new movie

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie …

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows.

The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie treatment. The British author’s famed children’s book focused on four anthropomorphised animals named Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger, who lived by a river in Edwardian England.

Fellowes will collaborate with director Ray Griggs, while Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital will help to create the special effects and visual effects for the film, as the four main characters will be computer-generated.

“We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world,” Molen said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Molen didn’t reveal any casting news, but teased, “We are finalising some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents.”

Production on the project is set to take place this year at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand, while California-based company Skywalker Sound will design all the sound effects and ambient noise.

Disney previously turned Grahame’s book into a short animated film in 1949 and the late Terry Jones wrote and directed a live-action version starring himself, Steve Coogan, and Eric Idle in 1996. There have also been many TV film adaptations.

Fellowes is no stranger to the material – he wrote the script for a stage musical of The Wind in the Willows back in 2016.

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Russell Crowe: ‘Peter Jackson didn’t really want me for Lord of the Rings’

Russell Crowe missed out on a big payday when he turned down a major role in The Lord of the Rings movies.The Gladiator star was offered the part of Aragorn in director Peter Jackson’s films, but he passed because he didn’t think his fellow New Zealand…

Russell Crowe missed out on a big payday when he turned down a major role in The Lord of the Rings movies.

The Gladiator star was offered the part of Aragorn in director Peter Jackson’s films, but he passed because he didn’t think his fellow New Zealander really wanted him on set.

“I didn’t think Peter Jackson actually wanted me on the film,” he told radio host Howard Stern. “I think he was forced into talking to me, because there was a moment in time where everybody wanted me in every (movie).

“I can (still) hear his voice… and my instinct was that he had somebody else in mind, which turned out to be Viggo (Mortensen). And he should be allowed to hire whoever he wants.”

Crowe went on to reveal he turned down a big salary as he was offered 10 per cent of the gross profits on the three Lord of the Rings films, which Stern estimated would have pocketed him $100 million (£79 million).

But he is adamant he isn’t too bothered about having so much money.

“Never thought about it,” the 55-year-old reflected, before joking: “It’s only situations like interviews where people are polite and kind enough to add s**t up for me.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Crowe shared that he would be open to reprising two characters; Bud White from 1997’s L.A. Confidential and Jackson Healy from 2016’s The Nice Guys.

Yet, he isn’t big on franchise films, with the string of possible sequels the reason why he didn’t pursue the part of Wolverine in the X-Men movies, with the part going to Hugh Jackman.

“There’s no way I would’ve ever done that, even if I’d done the film. I wouldn’t have carried it through with the grace and the direction that Hugh gave it,” he smiled.

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Harvey Weinstein denied bid to have Ashley Judd’s lawsuit dismissed

Harvey Weinstein’s request to have Ashley Judd’s defamation lawsuit thrown out of court has been rejected. The Double Jeopardy star launched the legal action in April (18), accusing the disgraced producer of blacklisting her and sabotaging her career …

Harvey Weinstein’s request to have Ashley Judd’s defamation lawsuit thrown out of court has been rejected.

The Double Jeopardy star launched the legal action in April (18), accusing the disgraced producer of blacklisting her and sabotaging her career after she refused his sexual advances.

In her suit, she referred to comments made by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson late last year (17), when he confessed to dropping Judd from casting consideration for his 2001 fantasy blockbuster based on remarks Weinstein had allegedly made about her lack of professionalism.

Weinstein vehemently denied trying to derail Judd’s career, and last month (Aug18), he filed a motion asking for the actress’ case to be dismissed, declaring the accusations are based on unfounded speculation.

His request was heard in a California court on Wednesday (19Sep18), when Judge Philip Gutierrez shot down Weinstein’s bid and allowed Judd to continue with her defamation and interference case, ruling they “are sufficient to give rise to an inference of actual malice such that the common interest privilege cannot bar her claims at the motion to dismiss stage”.

However, the judge also used the opportunity to toss her allegations of workplace sexual harassment against Weinstein, insisting an alleged 1990s incident, during which the producer is accused of trying to force himself upon Judd in a hotel room, did not fit the legal definition for the charge, as they were not involved in a business relationship at the time, reports Deadline.

Instead, Judge Gutierrez allowed Judd’s attorney to amend the complaint for harassment.

“We are very pleased that today the District Court held that Ashley Judd can proceed with her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and continue her effort to vindicate the wrongs he committed against her among so many other women,” Judd’s attorney, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., shared in a statement celebrating the news.

“We are also pleased that the court gave us an opportunity to amend our complaint and present additional facts related to one of Ms. Judd’s claims.”

The ruling was made a day after Boutrous Jr. revealed he had already reached out to Peter Jackson, who had other information about his reported exchange with Weinstein which could provide “powerful” testimony to back up Judd’s court case.

The lawsuit is just part of Weinstein’s mounting legal problems – he is also facing multiple criminal charges for sex assault in New York and Los Angeles following a series of exposes last year (17), in which he was accused of sexual misconduct from over 50 women, including Judd. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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Peter Jackson eyeing up next film series

Peter Jackson hopes his latest film Mortal Engines will be turned into a cinema series.The New Zealander is no stranger to mega franchises, having helmed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. His latest film, which he wrote and his frequent c…

Peter Jackson hopes his latest film Mortal Engines will be turned into a cinema series.

The New Zealander is no stranger to mega franchises, having helmed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

His latest film, which he wrote and his frequent collaborator Christian Rivers directed, is a sci-fi adventure set in post-apocalyptic future.

It’s based on the first of four novels in Philip Reeve’s quartet of the same name, and Peter is hoping studio heads will green light more films.

“You should (read all the books) because they actually get better and better,” he told Cinema Blend. “This is one movie where I hope it’s successful enough that we get to do the other stories, because the other books are really… this story mushrooms in such unexpected ways in the future books.

“So, I really hope we get to make those films. It’s cool. It’s a love story. It’s an unlikely love story. It’s about a young woman who doesn’t really think that she will ever find love, and she finds it in a very unexpected way in the middle of this chaotic, strange world that we’re in. And I also just like the idea of seeing big cities eat (each) other.”

Novels Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain make up the book series.

Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar is the film’s lead, with Hugo Weaving, Stephen Lang and Robert Sheehan co-starring.

Mortal Engines is currently in post-production and is due to hit cinemas in December (18).

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Quentin Tarantino almost replaced Peter Jackson as The Lord of the Rings director

Quentin Tarantino was nearly hired by Harvey Weinstein to replace Peter Jackson as the director of The Lord of the Rings. The New Zealand filmmaker initially developed the project with Weinstein’s Miramax firm – but they had heated disagreements over …

Quentin Tarantino was nearly hired by Harvey Weinstein to replace Peter Jackson as the director of The Lord of the Rings.

The New Zealand filmmaker initially developed the project with Weinstein’s Miramax firm – but they had heated disagreements over how to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel, as the movie mogul wanted the book condensed into a two-hour movie.

Weinstein accused Jackson of wasting $12 million (£8.8 million) by developing a two film script, according to British writer Ian Nathan – the author of a new book, Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson & The Making of Middle-Earth.

In an extract seen by editors at the Stuff.co.nz website, Ken Kamins, a producer working for Weinstein, revealed he made arrangements for Tarantino to take over, telling the writer: “Harvey was like, ‘You’re either doing this or you’re not. You’re out.’ And I got Quentin ready to direct it.”

In 1998, Jackson received a memo from Miramax executives telling him how to cram the book’s vast array of characters and complex plot into one film – but told Nathan that he decided to walk away rather than compromise on his vision.

“It was literally guaranteed to disappoint every single person that has read that book,” the 56-year-old explained, recalling that he explained that he no longer wanted to deal with Weinstein’s “c**p” and quit saying,”Tell Harvey to go ahead and make his film and good luck.”

According to the writer, Kamins eventually persuaded his boss not to push ahead with his own version, and to allow Jackson to sell his plans for the movie elsewhere.The filmmaker eventually teamed up with bosses at New Line Cinema to turn Tolkien’s novel into a screen trilogy that won 17 Academy Awards and earned $2.9 billion (£2.1 billion) at the box office.

Last December (17), the director admitted that he had avoided casting the actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in the films due to negative advice from Miramax executives. Both actresses are among dozens who have accused Weinstein of assault, and Judd is now suing the disgraced mogul for allegedly derailing her career.

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Steven Spielberg becomes $10 billion man

Steven Spielberg has become the first moviemaker in history to gross $10 billion at the global box office. His new release, Ready Player One, has taken the director past the milestone number, making him the most successful filmmaker ever, according to…

Steven Spielberg has become the first moviemaker in history to gross $10 billion at the global box office.

His new release, Ready Player One, has taken the director past the milestone number, making him the most successful filmmaker ever, according to Box Office Mojo.

What makes the feat even more amazing is the fact that his nearest competition is blockbuster king Michael Bay and Peter Jackson, the man behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies – and they are both at least $3.5 billion behind Spielberg, whose hits have included Jurassic Park, E.T., Schindler’s List, Jaws, and the Indiana Jones movies.

And the new figures are just based on the films Spielberg has directed. If you count in the projects he has produced as well, his movies have amassed an estimated $17.2 billion, according to the website.

Spielberg will soon be adding to his tally after announcing work has begun on a fifth Indiana Jones movie – the last to feature Harrison Ford as the adventurous professor of archaeology.

Meanwhile, the movie mogul recently revealed he doesn’t like watching his own films until years after they’re released.

“I’m always moving really fast, and I don’t look back a lot,” he told The New York Times. “That’s why I don’t sit down and look at my movies on a movie screen after I’ve made them. Sometimes it’s years before I will even dare look at a movie again, and sometimes I’ll shut it off after five minutes.”

And he’s no longer hooked on blockbusters and box office hits, insisting he prefers to create films with a deep social message, like Ready Player One – a dystopian vision of the future with overcrowded slum cities.

“I feel a deeper responsibility to tell stories that have some kind of social meaning,” he shared. “If I have a choice between a movie that is 100 per cent for the audience and a movie that says something about the past, I will always choose history over popular culture. Even with all the popcorn in a film like Ready Player One, it does still have social meaning.”

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