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Elijah Wood Reveals The Real Inspiration Behind This Lord Of The Rings Creature

In the movie business, Easter eggs are, of course, subtle visual homages in a film that usually have some connection to the project or are personal tips of the cap from a filmmaker. As it turns out, director Peter Jackson laid a giant Easter egg in the first chapter of his classic blockbuster film trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," and it was a rotten Easter egg at that.

Part of the storied history of "The Lord of the Rings" was that rights to the movie adaptations of author J.R.R. Tolkien's classic trilogy of novels were once the property of Miramax Films, a New York-based studio built by executive brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Miramax was eventually acquired by The Walt Disney Company, and the brothers formed another studio, The Weinstein Company, which was dismantled amid sexual assault allegations leveled against Harvey Weinstein by dozens of women in the movie industry in the advent of the #MeToo movement (via The New York Times).

The disgraced movie mogul was eventually found guilty of rape and sexual abuse when a criminal trial concluded in February 2020, and he was sentenced to 23 years in prison (via NPR). But long before Weinstein's empire came crashing down, he was involved in a tussle over the rights to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy with Jackson, and the filmmaker got the last laugh, according to the saga's star, Elijah Wood.

The long road to The Lord of the Rings

According to The Hollywood Reporter, when Harvey Weinstein was at the height of his power in the mid-1990s, he made Peter Jackson's life very difficult when the director and his writing partner, Fran Walsh, asked the notorious studio boss if they could move the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy away from Miramax and pitch it other studios. Given a short amount of time to do so, Jackson miraculously found a home for the massive project at New Line Cinema.

Released in 2001, "The Lord of the Rings," of course, is about the epic task bestowed upon a Hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to protect The One Ring of Power from Sauron (Christopher Lee), the dark lord of Mordor. Backed by an army of thousands, Sauron will go to no ends to attain rule over the Hobbits' home of Middle-earth. Among those joining Frodo in his harrowing trek to destroy The One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom were fellow Hobbits Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin Took (Billy Boyd), who battled — among other creatures — a gnarly-looking mass of foot soldiers known as Orcs along the way.

Elijah Wood says an Orc mask was made to look like Harvey Weinstein

Elijah Wood revealed in a new episode of the podcast "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" (via THR) that a visual homage to Weinstein was incorporated into the film because of all the trouble the disgraced former movie mogul caused Jackson.

"It's funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom and Bill have a podcast, 'The Friendship Onion,'" Wood revealed to Shepard. "They were talking to Sean Astin about his first memory of getting to New Zealand. He had seen these Orc masks. And one of the Orc masks — and I remember this vividly — was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a f**k you."

Wood also revealed that he had no fear of reprisal retelling the story, since Weinstein will likely be in prison for the rest of his life.

"I think that is OK to talk about now. The guy is f**king incarcerated," Wood told Shepard. "F**k him."