JD Payne and Patrick McKay were tapped to develop the costly drama that the new Amazon head Jennifer Salke said would win two years in production and hopes to air by 2021.
Amazon has found his duo the Lord of the Rings .
After extensive research, Amazon Studios has clicked on JD Payne and Patrick McKay ( Star Trek 4, Jungle Cruise ) to develop his upcoming large-scale acquisition of Lord of the Rings. Jennifer Salke, who made the announcement on Saturday during her debut as head of Amazon Studios at the Television Critics Association's Summer Press Tour, was on the verge of saying that Payne and McKay would serve as authors or showrunners.
"The rich world created by J.R.R. Tolkien is full of majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity," said Payne and McKay, longtime friends and writing partners, in a joint statement. "We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Amazon to bring it back to life, feeling like Frodo, who comes from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care ̵
McKay and Payne met in the high school debating team over two decades ago. They wrote Paramount Star Trek 4 for producer J.J. Abrams and adapted Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt feature Jungle Cruise for Disney. The duo also released their original blacklist screenplay for 2017 Escape with Oscar-nominated producer Mike DeLuca.
Amazon, now overseen by new TV and film director Jennifer Salke, obtained worldwide rights to Lord of the Rings series for the small screen in November 2017 in what was estimated to be a deal worth 250 million Dollars with the Tolkien estate. Under the terms of the Pact, Lord of the Rings series must go into production within two years. When considering casting, construction and visual effects, it is expected that the LOTR deal will exceed $ 1 billion.
The mega deal should be for five seasons plus a possible spin-off. Amazon already described the LOTR series in Middle-earth and explored new storylines before Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. Amazon produces in collaboration with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainments New Line
LOTR is the cornerstone of a major genre push for Amazon, which is a top mandate from CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon's head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado (who helped close the LOTR deal after Roy Price fell) was on a larger mission to expand the retail giants / streamer program lately. As part of the larger push, Amazon signed The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to an overall deal (and ordered a live shot on his Invincible comics series) while also The Expanse after Syfy's cancellation, including high-end sci-fi games.
In their first interview since moving from NBC to Amazon, Salke told The Hollywood Reporter that the series "LOTR " would be "in production in two years", and she hoped to broadcast her in 2021 despite the wishes of other camps that she would make it to 2020.
"We all would love a great addictive show running at the top of their game." Lord of the Rings "told Salke THR in June . "We've talked to writers, we have an estate that's very active, I've spent three hours with Simon Tolkien, there are many moving parts with it, we'll have a game plan soon, and we can move on."
Still to be determined is LOTR feature film mastermind Peter Jackson's Role in the Amazon Series. Salke said that Amazon was talking to Jackson to determine his level of involvement. "He can say he's involved or he's not involved, we're still talking to him about what kind of engagement he would suggest," she said.
Nevertheless, the landing of writers for LOTR was no small task for Amazon. Salke noted that she met with three or four different groups of writers, while Yguado spent time with "much more" than that. "When we announced it, many agents called and came with clients and British writers," Salke said. There was a lot of informational meeting about the material and the extent of what we can do. My hope would be to bring together a group of talented people who will obviously have a leader who can embark on this great ambitious venture.
Payne and McKay are represented by Verve, Kaplan Perone and Hansen Jacobson.