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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Why Peter Jackson considered hypnosis to try to forget about his 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy

It remains among audiences’ most precious movie memories… but the director who made it happen just can’t relate.

By Benjamin Bullard
Lord of the Rings LOTR Fellowship of the Ring Samwise Gamgee PRESS

Remember the first time you saw Jurassic Park? The first time you saw Star Wars? What about the first time you saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the opening film in Peter Jackson’s epic three-part saga of the Shire? Whatever especially cherished movie memory lies in your past, you definitely know that magic feeling: Seeing something great for the very first time leaves an indelible, lifelong impression.

Yeah, Peter Jackson would love to know what that feels like — at least when it comes to his own landmark LOTR legacy. By the time The Fellowship of the Ring arrived in theaters in 2001, sure, the fans might’ve been getting their first wondrous taste of what a big budget and boundless creative energy could do for J.R.R. Tolkien’s world brought to life on the big screen. But for Jackson, who’d been laboring over the movie for the better part of a decade, that kind of fresh awe wasn’t exactly easy to come by.

Speaking recently with The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson confessed he was envious of viewers who got to approach his Oscar-winning film trilogy with no idea of all that lay in store.

“When we did The Lord of the Rings movies I always felt I was the unlucky person who never got to see as a coming-out-of-the-blue film,” he explained. “By the time there were screening I was immersed in it for five or six years. It was such a loss for me not be able to see them like everyone else.”

So bereft was he of viewing his own work through a typical fan’s eyes, added Jackson, that he even thought about undergoing hypnotherapy in order to forget as much as he could of his own role in making the whole thing happen.

“I actually did seriously consider going to some hypnotherapy guy to hypnotize me to make me forget about the films and the work I had done over the last six or seven years,” he said, “so I could sit and enjoy them. I didn’t follow through with it, but I did talk to [British mentalist] Derren Brown about that and he thought he could do it.”

Jackson didn’t elaborate on what made him decide not to follow through with his plan to (temporarily, at least) erase the LOTR-related part of his mind. But it shouldn’t be a problem when Amazon’s hugely-anticipated The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power prequel series finally arrives next month. Though he told THR he was initially approached by the studio to read scripts for the series, “the scripts,” he said, “never showed up. That’s the last thing I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all.”

That means Jackson will at last get to take in a big-budget LOTR production with the same fresh eyes as everyone else — no hypnosis required. He’s probably at least got the premiere date memorized, though, and so do we: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts at Amazon Prime Video beginning Sept. 2.

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over for the next four months? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.