Payne & McKay develop Amazon’s Lord of the Rings

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After a “long process and extensive search”, Amazon Studios has chosen the duo of JD Payne and Patrick McKay to develop a live-action TV series based on The Lord of The Rings.

In a statement, Payne & McKay commented: “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.”

Writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been working together since meeting on the high school debate team more than two decades ago. Their most recent projects include writing Star Trek 4 for Paramount and producer J.J. Abrams, adapting Jungle Cruise for Disney and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, and setting up their original, 2017 Blacklist drama script Escape.

The show is expected to focus on younger versions of some of the best known Lord of the Rings characters and will explore previously untold stories from Middle-Earth, set some years before The Fellow of the Ring.

Amazon acquired the TV rights to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in November last year for a reported $250 million. A minimum 5 seasons of televison is said to occur from the deal, with the first season tentatively scheduled to premiere some time in 2020.


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