J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe is comprised of fantastical beasts and wildly creative creatures that have sat at the core of the saga’s seemingly infinite lore. Iconic characters and incredible beings made the leap from books to the big screen while bringing the many realms of Middle Earth to life, though Elijah Wood, popularly recognized for his role of Frodo Baggins, notes that one orc, in particular, is a nod to Harvey Weinstein.
“It’s funny,” Elijah Wood shared with actor Dax Shepard during an episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert. “This was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan] and Bill [Boyd, who played hobbits Merry and Pippin] … were talking to Sean Astin [Samwise] about his first memory of getting to New Zealand [where the series was filmed],” The Guardian transcribes, “…And one of the orc masks – and I remember this vividly – was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a f—k you.”
Harvey Weinstein was arrested in the May of 2018 after dozens of women had come forward with accusations that he had sexually abused, sexually assaulted, and raped them. Over eighty women in the industry had voiced their accusations of such acts against them. The Weinstein Company was dismissed from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and in February 2020, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape in the third degree. He was additionally found guilty of committing criminal sex acts and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Elijah Wood was sure to mention the former film mogul’s incarceration when disclosing the inspiration behind the specific orc.
Director Peter Jackson’s trilogy was originally supposed to be developed under the Miramax and Weinstein banners, and at the time, Miramax held the rights to Tolkien’s work. Harvey Weinstein pressured Jackson to only use one or two of Tolkein’s novels for his films, which Jackson was persistent against. Eventually, the relationship between the two filmmakers became strained, and Jackson shopped his film to other studios, where Elijah Wood was given the role under New Line Cinema.
The actor may have left his impact on The Lord of the Rings, and Elijah Wood is ready to branch out to other major franchises, ones where he won’t have to face characters that don’t directly riff off of the likeness of Harvey Weinstein. He proclaims himself as a “huge Star Wars fan” and though admitted that he would take a role at Marvel Studios if the opportunity came about, that his priority would be given to Star Wars. He then dismissed the argument around Marvel movies being legitimate cinema, praising the studio’s collection of titles for being “inherently fun” and “extremely well made.”
Elijah Wood might not be joining The Avengers, but rumors imply that he could cross paths with The Toxic Avenger in a reboot of the 1980s cult classic. Deadline Hollywood previously announced that Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage would star in The Toxic Avenger reboot that would be reimagined under Legendary instead of Troma Entertainment. The rumors on whether Elijah Wood would join the casting still remain to be rumors, though IMDb lists him amid Kevin Bacon and Jacob Tremblay as top-billed talent. At an angle, The Toxic Avenger bears that same look that was captured in the Lord of the Rings orc caricature inspired by Harvey Weinstein.