Amazon attaches JA Bayona to direct ‘Lord of the Rings’ adaptation

Amazon Studios has brought in Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) to direct the first two episodes of its big budget adaptation of Lord of the Rings.

Bayona and producing partner Belén Atienza are attached as exec producers on the series, which is set in Middle Earth and is being written by JD Payne and Patrick McKay.

Amazon acquired global rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings for TV adaptation in 2017, at a cost of around $250 million.

The upcoming original will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

It will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, with the deal also including a potential spin-off series alongside the multi-season production commitment.

Bayona, who directed movies including The Orphanage as well as episodes of Showtime drama Penny Dreadful, said: “J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honour and a joy to join this amazing team.

“I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”

Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, added: “The scope and breadth of JA’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén.”

Payne and McKay said: “We have been great admirers of JA’s work for years and know that his epic, cinematic and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew.”

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