Viggo Mortensen Says ‘Lords of the Rings’ Were “Straight to Video” Quality

The actor reveals that when the films were first created by Peter Jackson, he believes that the second and third films were especially badly made and were “straight to video” quality. He says that those behind the film had no idea how hugely successful it would be and were even preparing for the films to flop. He explained that when the first film was previewed, the other two films were in a bad state and he thinks that if the first film hadn’t been positivity received, the other two films would have been a big disaster:

“Anybody who says they knew it [Lord of the Rings] was going to be the success it was, I don’t think it’s really true. They didn’t have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”

Still not mincing words, Viggo even questions Peter Jackson’s current career direction and he believes the director would be better off moving back towards indie budget films. He also thinks he blew the budget a few times of things that just weren’t needed to make a film:

“Peter, I was sure he would do another intimately scaled film like Heavenly Creatures, maybe with this project about New Zealanders in the First World War he wanted to make. But then he did King Kong. And then he did The Lovely Bones – and I thought that would be his smaller movie. But the problem is, he did it on a $90?million budget. That should have been a $15?million movie. The special effects thing, the genie, was out of the bottle, and it has him. And he’s happy, I think.”