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 Lees 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 McKellens 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
"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."