For ”Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, the Precious may not be a gold ring but a shiny statuette. He’s a favorite to win a Best Picture or Best Director prize at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony (Feb. 29, ABC, 8-11 p.m. ET). EW.com talked to Jackson about his Oscar attitude, the emotional trauma of wrapping up ”Rings,” and why his next ”King” will be larger — and yet smaller — than ”Return.”
Now that the trilogy is complete, do you feel the studio gave you everything you needed to create your vision?
I was frustrated by a lot of things, as any filmmaker is, but money was never really the issue. I must confess to having a bit of paranoia about what might happen after ”The Fellowship of the Ring” was successful. I thought New Line might pull back and say ”We just want to put out the next two at the cheapest possible cost because we know we’ve got the audience now.” But they did the opposite, I’m happy to say. ”Return of the King” was originally supposed to have 375 effects shots. It ended up with 1,500. That’s the greatest unrestrained freedom I’ll probably ever have as a filmmaker.
Has saying goodbye to the trilogy been a difficult process for you?
The really emotional part was a few months ago, because we had the actors in New Zealand doing pickups at different times for three or four days. This was the period the actors were all dreading, their final bow. It would be Elijah’s last day or Viggo’s last day, and we’d come to the last shot. We’d never say it, but everyone knew. And at that point the curtain slams down on that particular actor, and there were tears and hugs and sadness. For each actor it was tough, but for all of us behind the scenes we had 15 of these farewells. So it was really an emotional few weeks.
There are scenes that were cut from the finished film. Will we see them on DVD?
We have an hour of footage we shot for ”Return of the King” that we didn’t put in the movie. I’m going to work on an extended DVD version, though I don’t think all of that will make it in because the pacing would be really weird. But there’s some good stuff that’s not in the book. We did a funny scene between Gimli and Legolas having a drinking competition which I really quite liked, but we felt [it was too comedic] at a point when we wanted to set up the tension of the story. And there’s a sequence of Sam and Frodo disguised as orcs where they end up in the orc army for a while.
Speaking of tough, are you looking forward to remaking ”King Kong”?
”Kong”’s going to be hard. It’s hard to make a good movie, whether it’s big or small, but this time I’m looking forward to making just one film.