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Peter Jackson hits back over decision to axe Lee



Story by: Jack Foley

AS THE Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King finally hits cinemas and breaks records across the globe, its director, Peter Jackson, has finally responded to the controversy surrounding his decision to axe Christopher Lee from the final part of the trilogy.

Much has been made of Lee’s apparent disgust at the decision to drop him, while a petition had been set up, through his website, for fans lobbying to have his scenes reinstated.

One of the major moments was said to be a battle between himself and Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, in which Saruman is eventually defeated and killed.

Commenting after the decision had been made to drop his scenes, Lee said: "Of course, I am very shocked, that's all I can say. If you want to know why you would have to ask the company New Line or director Peter Jackson and his associates because I still don't really know why."

 

But Jackson has finally broken his silence, and insists that the 81-year-old star was warned in advance of the decision, and claims it is his fans - 44,000 of whom signed calling for him to be reinstated - who are to blame for whipping up such a frenzy.

"Everything I've read on the 'net is completely wrong," he maintains. "There were phone calls, faxes. He's fine, but he's got a website with fans who've started a petition, which I don't think is necessarily in h is best interest.

"I don't think for a second it was Christopher that drove that. I think it was just fans. It just brings a lot of publicity to it.

"He's not really feeling that way, but his fans are fighting the battle and it brings a lot of unnecessary publicity to it. But the scene's great and it will be on the DVD and everyone will get a chance to see it."

Jackson maintains, instead, that the seven-minute death scene was originally intended for second film, The Two Towers, and was only considered for Return Of The King if there was room in the final cut.

But he added: "It was never in The Return Of The King. The Saruman scene was one of many scenes we cut. The longer the film was, the less strong it got because you felt like you'd been there for too long and it lost its impact."

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