When The Beatles wanted to star in a "Lord of the Rings" movie

John Lennon wanted to play Gollum. Where's our preciousss fan-created deepfake of this?

By Natalie Zamora

Published December 5, 2021 9:00PM (EST)

The Beatles perform 'Rain' and 'Paperback Writer' on BBC TV show 'Top Of The Pops' in London on 16th June 1966 (Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)
The Beatles perform 'Rain' and 'Paperback Writer' on BBC TV show 'Top Of The Pops' in London on 16th June 1966 (Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)

This story originally appeared on Winter is Coming.

While "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy directed by Peter Jackson is one of the most critically acclaimed film series of all time, it could've turned out completely different. Before the likes of Elijah Wood and Viggo Mortensen were cast, familiar faces such as Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman and even Vin Diesel were considered for roles.

And prior to Jackson's take on J.R.R. Tolkien's story, a group of super-popular celebrities tried to get an adaptation going. The Beatles, of all people, wanted to star in a Lord of the Rings movie once upon a time. While Peter Jackson was promoting his new Disney+ documentary "Get Back," which is all about the iconic band, he revealed this fun tidbit. Apparently, film producer Dennis O'Dell was the one to present the idea to the group.

J.R.R. Tolkien turned down The Beatles

According to BBC, Jackson had the chance to ask Paul McCartney about this story while working on "Get Back," discovering that while The Beatles wanted to make the movie, it was Tolkien himself who turned the idea down. Jackson explained:

Ultimately, they couldn't get the rights from Tolkien, because he didn't like the idea of a pop group doing his story. So it got nixed by him. They tried to do it. There's no doubt about it. For a moment in time they were seriously contemplating doing that at the beginning of 1968.

Rumor has it that McCartney would have played Frodo, George Harrison would've portrayed Gandalf, Ringo Starr would've been Sam, and funnily enough, John Lennon would have played Gollum. "Paul couldn't remember exactly when I spoke to him, but I believe that is the case." That certainly would've been a sight to see.

It goes without saying that a "Lord of the Rings" movie starring The Beatles would have been much different than the trilogy we eventually got, and I think I speak for most when I say I'm glad it worked out this way. If an adaptation came out in the '60s or '70s, it's entirely possible Jackson's series wouldn't have ever happened.

Even McCartney shares similar sentiments. As Jackson recalled, "Paul said, 'Well I'm glad we didn't do it, because you got to do yours, and I liked your film.'"

Fans of the fantasy series are looking to Amazon right now, as their upcoming "Lord of the Rings" TV show is slated for a September 2022 release. With the insane budget this show has, let's hope it doesn't disappoint.


Natalie Zamora

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