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How Lord Of The Rings Used An Orc To Throw Shade At Harvey Weinstein

When Harvey Weinstein's name comes up, it invokes scorn and derision from most people. The ex-movie producer's sexual misconduct will go down in history for laying the groundwork for the #MeToo movement and led to the creation of terms like the "Weinstein effect." But even though the former film titan may be disgraced in the present and serving a decades-long prison term, before all of that happened, a small but amusing measure of justice had already been meted out to Weinstein nearly two decades before he was first accused of sexual abuse. How? In the form of an Orc lookalike.

In 2021, Elijah Wood, who plays the Hobbit hero Frodo in Peter Jackson's iconic Middle-earth trilogy, told a story about how the team behind "The Lord of the Rings" films made fun of the film producer right on set. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wood recalled the time co-star Sean Astin (who plays Samwise Gamgee) first arrived in New Zealand. "He had seen these orc masks," Woods explained, "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."

The comment was an aggressive insult, but Woods quickly followed it up with the justifying line, "I think that is OK to talk about now, the guy is f****** incarcerated. F*** him." The obvious follow-up question is, why on earth did the prosthetics department feel the need to sculpt a horrifying Orcish visage of the now-disgraced film producer if he hadn't already been outed as a sex offender? The answer is that, when it came to "The Lord of the Rings," Weinsten had already taken the first shot.

Weinstein tried to sabotage Peter Jackson's Middle-earth project

AAccording to Elijah Wood's story, the "Lord of the Rings" rights were initially owned by Weinstein's company Miramax as Peter Jackson attempted to get the films off the ground. The entertainment studio didn't want to create the trio of films according to Jackson's vision, and when he asked to shop the idea around to other studios, Weinstein said yes on two conditions. First, they had to find a buyer that weekend. Second, the studio had to agree to make all three films in one fell swoop.

In the '90s, this was an unheard-of risk to ask a studio to take. Nevertheless, Jackson put on his salesman cap, made a pitch video, and quickly found a buyer in Bob Shaye at New Line Cinema. According to Hollywood lore, Jackson had dialed it back to two films at that point, and it was Shaye who was so taken by the idea that he insisted on upping the number to three.

This made the impish retribution of the Weinstein Orc the perfect way to subtly throw shade at Harvey Weinstein. The specific Orc in question is unknown, which is unfortunate. It would be entertaining for many LOTR fans (and countless others besides) to see the costume that served as a "screw you" to the man that nearly derailed one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.