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5473Beatles had wizard idea for their own Lord of the Rings film

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  • Stolzi@aol.com
    Mar 3, 2002

      March 03, 2002

      Beatles had wizard idea for their own Lord of the Rings film
      Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

      THE BEATLES almost embarked on their most magical mystery tour by making
      a film of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings more than 30 years ago.
      According to their film producer's forthcoming memoirs, John Lennon was
      to have been the wizard Gandalf - played by Sir Ian McKellen in Peter
      Jackson's film released last Christmas - and Paul McCartney would have
      been the hobbit Frodo Baggins. Ringo Starr and George Harrison would
      also have had roles.
      The directors David Lean and Stanley Kubrick each had talks about making
      the film in the late 1960s. Denis O'Dell, who would have produced the
      film, said: "The deal was never concluded as there were problems with
      the directors and the Beatles themselves lost interest."
      O'Dell had earlier worked on the Beatles films A Hard Day's Night and
      Magical Mystery Tour and went on to be a director of Apple, which ran
      the group's business interests.
      Now O'Dell, who was involved with the Beatles for six years from the
      mid-1960s and remains a friend of McCartney, has decided to tell his
      version of events, including the band's break-up in 1970. He was
      immortalised in the song You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) with the
      line sung by Lennon: "Let's hear it for Denis O'Dell."
      In the book, to be published next month by Peter Owen, O'Dell says: "We
      were all very keen on the Lord of the Rings project. I gave them the
      books and it was a serious idea."
      They even took the books to India when they went to live with their
      guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the pop star Donovan, who was also
      interested in the film.
      Lean, best known for films such as Great Expectations and Lawrence of
      Arabia, told O'Dell he was a fan of A Hard Day's Night, but said he had
      a "little romantic film to do first in Ireland" - the Oscar-winning
      Ryan's Daughter.
      O'Dell and the Beatles then turned to Kubrick, but the American director
      said the books were unfilmable. "It was a shame," said O'Dell. "John
      even thought there could have been an album of music based around the
      In O'Dell's book, At the Apple's Core, he also writes of his time with
      the Beatles in India. He recalls that Ringo, unlike the other three, had
      a miserable time. "He couldn't stand the food," said O'Dell. "He had his
      own baked beans."
      He thinks the Beatles merely dabbled in acting, although Ringo was "a
      natural comic actor".