British film writer Ian Nathan (obnoxious LinkedIn bio here) recently published his newest book "Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson & The Making of Middle-Earth," in which he details a conflict between producer Harvey Weinstein and director Peter Jackson that nearly resulted in an entirely different Lord of the Rings.
According to Nathan, Weinstein thought Jackson wasted $12m in developing a two-movie script and threatened to replace him with Quentin Tarantino or John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) if he didn't turn it into a single two-hour film.
See a speculative fancast of a Tarantino LotR
Jack Lechner (development head of Miramax) sent an outline of what he called "a more radical, streamlined approach," including the following changes:
- Cutting Helm’s Deep
- Eowyn as Boromir’s sister
- No Faramir
- No Balrog
- No Saruman
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4