Acclaimed filmmaker Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona (The Orphanage, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Impossible) will direct the first two episodes of Amazon Studios’ upcoming The Lord of the Rings series, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels. He will also serve as an executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza.
“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,” said Bayona. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.”
“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,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We are all excited for them to join our writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can’t think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth.”
“We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belen joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series,” said writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay. “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.”
Bayona’s first feature film, the critically-acclaimed thriller The Orphanage, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, premiered to a 10-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and later won seven Goya Awards in Spain, including best new director.
Bayona most recently directed the blockbuster feature Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide. He also directed The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and A Monster Calls, starring Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson, and Felicity Jones, as well as the first two episodes of Showtime’s hit series Penny Dreadful.
Amazon acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment. The Lord of the Rings series 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.
Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.