The Hollywood left seems to be going salacious once again with its latest big-budget foray into the world of television fantasy.
According to sharp-eyed fan blog TheOneRing.net, recent hiring efforts reveal nudity and sexual content will likely have a place in Amazon Prime’s upcoming exclusive series set in the world J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
Amazon Studios has officially hired former “Game of Thrones” writer Bryan Cogman and prominent News Zealand-based film “intimacy coordinator” Jennifer Ward-Lealand to the production team of “Untitled Amazon Project” — a recently exposed code-name for the new Middle Earth original.
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BGT Actors Models & Talent, the New Zealand casting agency responsible for staffing recently resumed on-location shoots for the show in Auckland, also released a public call for actors “comfortable with nudity” earlier this month.
“BGT are currently on the search for talent who are comfortable with partial or full nudity,” the agency wrote. “We are after all shapes, sizes and uniquely beautiful looks. You’ll be needed for background extra and featured extra work on an upcoming TV production shooting in Auckland.”
The listing also guaranteed intimacy guidelines would be followed at all times on set.
Whether this means explicit sexual content will be featured in the untitled fantasy production remains unknown.
The inclusion of such content would, however, fall in line with top-down efforts to shift the programming emphasis at Amazon Studios in recent years.
According to Variety, corporation data analysts and senior management — Jeff Bezos included — began pushing in 2017 for studio chief Roy Price to focus on producing “high-end drama series with global appeal.”
“It comes out of analysis of the data and conversations among the leadership team,” Price said. “We’ve been looking at the data for some time, and as a team we’re increasingly focused on the impact of the biggest shows. It’s pretty evident that it takes big shows to move the needle.”
When pressed for examples, Price reportedly did not “mince words” with regard to his interest in producing content along the same lines as HBO’s hit series, “Game of Thrones” — a fantasy epic that held mainstream audiences for eight seasons, often leaning on gratuitous nudity and sexually explicit content.
“‘I do think ‘Game of Thrones’ is to TV as ‘Jaws’ and ‘Star Wars’ was to the movies of the 1970s,” Price said.
“It’ll inspire a lot of people. Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit.”
“The mandate from Jeff Bezos is clear: Bring me ‘Game of Thrones.'” https://t.co/IbwVqVcUM6
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With near-unrestricted rights to Tolkien’s Middle Earth and a massive audience cultivated nearly two decades ago by Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” film series, the potential certainly exists for Amazon to capitalize on creating the next “Game of Thrones” — particularly given the company’s willingness to spend upward of $1 billion producing the series.
However, such comparisons have fast become a point of concern for longtime “Lord of the Rings” fans, many of whom suggest the production should remain true to the refined and wholesome “high fantasy” foundations laid by Middle Earth’s devoutly Catholic creator.
Evita Duffy of The Federalist led the charge on that front Friday, arguing Amazon Studios should resist misguided urges to “imitate ‘Game of Thrones’-type nudity and ‘rapey’ storylines” in order to drive viewership.
Jackson’s original film adaptations of “The Lord of the Rings” had, for their part, grossed roughly $2.9 billion globally at the box office, Duffy pointed out.
“We should fight for the world Tolkien created,” the writer added. “It is a remaining glimmer of hope in our otherwise bleak and God-less culture. If the series becomes secularized and sexualized by the left, Tolkien fans should register their displeasure by not watching it. Tolkien fans have an obligation to ‘defend’ the popular and culturally influential Tolkien legacy against, as he said, ‘the malice of its enemies.'”
Tolkien himself held similar views about the moral preservation of his work, describing the greater body of stories set in Middle Earth as “fundamentally religious and Catholic” in his letters, according to The New York Times.
Another letter cited in initial reports from TheOneRing.net also saw Tolkien suggesting to a correspondent that he “had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend” that would “be ‘high’, purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry.”
The Western Journal reached out to Amazon Studios for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
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