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Amazon taps JD Payne and Patrick McKay to helm original Lord of the Rings series

on July 28, 2018, 6:22pm

After what a press release calls “a long process and extensive search,” Amazon announced today that they’ve found the people who will lead the studio into Middle Earth. JD Payne and Patrick McKay, the writers of a forthcoming untitled Star Trek sequel, have been tapped to develop and helm Amazon’s long-gestating original Lord of the Rings series.

In a statement provided by Amazon, McKay and Payne had this to say:

“The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”

Payne and McKay began their collaboration on a high school debate team, but are a relatively unknown quantity to this point. Among their other projects: Jungle Cruise, Disney’s upcoming adaptation starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, and Escape, a drama that appeared on the Blacklist and is being produced by Mike DeLuca.

Amazon Studios made a multi-season, billion-dollar commitment to the world of J.R.R. Tolkein, and is producing the work in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema. The series will “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring,” per Amazon. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was made into a couple of movies, back in the day; they made a little money and picked up an award or two. The films’ director, Peter Jackson, apparently assisted Amazon in “putting the creative team together.”

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