Amazon to launch ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

A poster for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series.
Updated 14 November 2017
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Amazon to launch ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

LOS ANGELES: Amazon said Monday it had acquired the global television rights to “The Lord of the Rings,” based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment.
Set in Middle Earth, the adaptation will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the Internet streamer said, adding that the deal included a potential additional spin-off series.
“‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios.
The Tolkien Estate had also approached Netflix and HBO, according to Hollywood entertainment website Deadline, which reported the deal came with an eye-watering upfront rights payment of around $200 million.
The production budget will likely add another $100-$150 million a season — but Amazon is seen as having deep pockets, as chairman Jeff Bezos has challenged his creative teams to come up with a prestigious fantasy series to rival “Game Of Thrones.”
“The Lord of the Rings” was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in the BBC’s The Big Read survey in 2003.
With an A-list cast that included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom, Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy earned almost $3 billion worldwide, scooping 17 Oscars in total.
He followed up with a prequel trilogy based on Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” which made almost the same at the box office.
Amazon said the series would be available via the Prime Video app or online in more than 200 countries and territories, but it did not announce a release date.
“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.