Peter Jackson may produce Amazon's reported $1 billion Lord of the Rings series

Peter Jackson may produce Amazon's reported $1 billion Lord of the Rings series.
Sir Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit Photo credit: New Line Cinema

Sir Peter Jackson is reportedly in talks with Amazon about potentially having a role on its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show.

The Kiwi filmmaker had no involvement with Amazon's original deal with the Tolkien estate, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but his lawyer Peter Nelson has "helped start a dialogue" between them.

It's still not clear what the narrative of the series will focus on, but it's said to be a prequel to the Oscar-winning original trilogy.

The Lord of the Rings TV show is set to be a hugely expensive project. Amazon already reportedly spent US$250 million for the rights to it, now the Hollywood Reporter article claims "when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of US$1 billion".

That figure is larger than the previously astounding budget of the fellow fantasy show Game of Thrones, which reportedly had a budget of US$6 million per episode in season one, growing to around US$15 million per episode for the upcoming final season.

All eight seasons of the HBO show will then have a combined budget of around US$770 million - which is much cheaper than Amazon's.

The Lord of the Rings series is committed to at least five seasons and may include material from the six of Sir Peter's Tolkien films, according to the new report.

"It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson told the Hollywood Reporter of the Amazon deal.

"We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises.

"They also are realising that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

Part of the deal between Amazon and the Tolkien estate is that production must be launched within two years.

The Hollywood Reporter claims whether or not Sir Peter would serve as an executive producer would be "up to him".