Story at a glance

  • The Beatles approached author J.R.R. Tolkien in 1968, hoping to turn his book “The Lord of the Rings” into a movie.
  • Tolkien wouldn’t give the band the rights to the material, saying he didn’t want a pop band to bring his story to the big screen.
  • The revelation was made by director Peter Jackson, who went on to direct the “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy, as well as the band’s new docuseries, “The Beatles: Get Back.”

Have you ever imagined Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins? 

Iconic band The Beatles wanted to make that dream a reality when they approached writer J.R.R. Tolkien in 1968, asking to turn his book “The Lord of the Rings” into a movie — which Tolkein promptly denied.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson — who went on to direct “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, with the first movie premiering in 2001 — made the revelation to the BBC while doing press for his latest docuseries, “The Beatles: Get Back.”

"I've been scraping together little pieces of information. I've been interrogating Paul about it. Ringo doesn't remember much," Jackson said.


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According to Jackson, the band became enthralled with the idea after reading copies of “The Lord of the Rings” their producer Denis O’Dell sent to them while on tour in the late 1960s. The band’s version of the movie would have seen McCartney as Frodo, John Lennon as Gollum, George Harrison as Gandalf, and Ringo Starr as Sam. 

However, The Beatles couldn’t secure the rights from Tolkien.

"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,” Jackson said. “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."

“The Beatles: Get Back” is streaming now on Disney+.


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Published on Nov 29, 2021