Whatever way Amazon tries to paint it, $465 million for what will probably be ten episodes of television at the most is an insane number, but studio head Jennifer Salke did at least attempt to justify the exorbitant investment by admitting it was necessary in the grand scheme of things to both win the bidding war for The Lord of the Rings and lay the foundations for the streamer’s five-season commitment.
However, the project is now coming under fire from Mortal Kombat and Power Rangers star Ludi Lin for a lack of diversity, which is hardly a new accusation to be laid at the feet of Middle-earth. In fact, somebody even worked out that across both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, which run for a combined total of over 20 hours based on the Extended Editions, Lawrence Makoare is the only non-white actor with a speaking role, and his combined dialogue as Bolg, Lurtz and the Witch-King of Angmar totals less than a minute of screen time.
Of course, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the books well over half a century ago drawing heavily from ancient English and Norse mythologies for inspiration, but as you can see from Lin’s tweet below, that won’t fly in an era where diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of Hollywood’s thinking more than ever.
It’s going to be difficult to justify building a “huge world” without any characters that look Asian. Turn that imagine on us @JSalke. It’s not hard, we’re right here.
Amazon Boss Justifies ‘Lord of the Rings’ $465 Million Budget: ‘Huge World-Building’ https://t.co/Xx8F651k7m
— Ludi Lin (@ludi_lin) May 13, 2021
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That being said, Amazon have clearly moved to rectify at least some of that criticism by casting actors like Ismael Cruz Córdova, Nazanin Boniadi, Thusitha Jayasundera, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Sara Zwangoba, Sophia Nomvete and Lenny Henry in prominent roles, but Lin is right in saying that there’s still a dearth of Asian talent attached to The Lord of the Rings.