Jack Nicholson Had No Qualms About Criticizing LotR to Its Lead Actor's Face

Jack Nicholson Had No Qualms About Criticizing LotR to Its Lead Actor's Face
Image credit: Legion-Media

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed film series of all time. However, not everyone seems to be a big fan of the last movie, Return of the King.

In fact, Jack Nicholson told Elijah Wood that he disliked the film shortly after its release in 2003.

The incident occurred backstage at the Golden Globes, which both Nicholson and Wood attended. Wood, who plays Frodo Baggins in the films, told the story in a later interview on the Graham Norton Show.

According to Wood, he was approached by Nicholson, who asked, "What happened?" Wood was taken aback and answered, "What do you mean?"

After admitting he had walked out of the film before it finished, Nicholson reportedly replied, "It just had so many endings ... It just wouldn't end." Wood attempted to explain the ending to the film; however, it sounds like ultimately Nicholson wasn't convinced.

Nicholson is not the only one to criticize the film for having "too many endings". In fact, if you count all of the endings from the movie's theatrical cut, there are at least seven individual endings across multiple characters that can be identified.

Yet fans of the film are defiant in defending the trilogy's conclusion. Arguing that it is the end of numerous movies and not just one, and therefore deserves a comprehensive finale. Having anything less than a conclusion for each character and their narratives over nine hours of storytelling would simply appear rushed and unfitting.

Lord of the Ring's screenwriter Philippa Boyens, was once reported as saying on the matter at New York Comic Con, "Can I just for the record say, 'I don't give a s***'?... We weren't ending one film; we were ending three films".

Even Peter Jackson himself has commented on saying he has no regrets about the film's disputed finish. As far as he is concerned, "I didn't think of it as being a single movie... I looked at it in the context of the full story".

Clearly, such a controversial ending to the film had no lasting effects on the movie's performance. As The Return of the King went on to become one of the greatest movies of all time. It won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

Meanwhile, with a career spanning more than 60 years, Nicholson remains one of Hollywood's most famous actors. Yet, in the end, the exchange between Nicholson and Wood serves as a reminder that even the most celebrated films are not immune to criticism, even from some of Hollywood's greats.