The upcoming Lord of the Rings television series has found its keeper.Per Deadline, Amazon Studios recently tapped Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A. Bayona to helm the first two episodes of the fantasy drama series, which takes place in Middle-earth in the time before author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.Bayona is also set to executive produce, as is his producing partner Belén Atienza.In boarding The Lord of the Rings show, Bayona becomes the first director after Peter Jackson, the filmmaker behind the feature films based on Tolkien’s novels, to take on an official adaptation of the property. He is also the first person to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen, as the impending Amazon Studios-housed project is the first of its kind.As anyone would be after landing a gig like this, Bayona is overjoyed at the opportunity to direct The Lord of the Rings series. He said in a statement accompanying the news, “J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor 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.”Bayona joins a creative team that already has writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay on board. The writing duo are heading up a writers room that’s said to include Gennifer Hutchinson, who previously wrote for Breaking Bad, and Bryan Cogman, a man whose name many have come to know in association with Game of Thrones, another sprawling fantasy series that adapts a beloved author’s lengthy works.Payne and McKay said of Bayona’s hiring, “We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belén joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series. We have been great admirers of J.A.’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.”Added Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, “The scope and breadth of J.A.’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. We are all excited for them to join our writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can’t think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth.”Bayona is a great pick for the Lord of the Rings series, as he not only has experience navigating big fictional worlds (thanks to his directing work on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) but also knows a thing or two about directing for television. His small-screen credits include Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, of which he directed — wait for it — the first two episodes. Penny Dreadful went on to become a smashing success, so something tells us that Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings will experience the same outcome thanks to Bayona’s involvement.
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