Amazon has secured an up-and-coming writing duo to pen its forthcoming Lord of the Rings series.
J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who have penned Star Trek 4 and Disney's Jungle Cruise, have been set to develop the streaming service's big-budgeted take on Lord of the Rings. The announcement was made by head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke, during Amazon's presentation at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour yesterday. Unfortunately, it remains unclear whether the duo are currently set to simply develop the project -- or if they will go on to serve as the showrunners for the series.
The duo expressed their excitement in a joint statement released following the announcement yesterday. "The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity," Payne and McKay stated. "We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime."
Interestingly enough, this will mark the biggest undertaking for Payne and McKay as their two biggest writing credits to date are for films that have yet to be released. In fact, filming has only just begun on Jungle Cruise, while Star Trek 4 seems to still be in the relative early stages of pre-production. Prior to penning those two films, the writing duo managed to land on the 2017 Blacklist for best unproduced screenplays with their script Escape.
Amazon is also said to be in talks with Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings films, to see if he'll have any involvement with the project. "He may say he is involved or he's not involved. We're still very much in conversation with him about what kind of involvement he would propose," Salke explained.
Amazon first secured the rights to Lord of the Rings late last year with it being reported that the deal had called for five seasons, as well as a potential spinoff. Though little movement has happened on the project since it was first announced, it's believed that the series could end up costing Amazon a massive $1 billion when all is said and done. As is stands, the studio has a little over a year left to enter production, as the deal with the Tolkien estate stressed that the project must enter production within two years -- suggesting things should begin to rapidly pick-up in the coming months.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)