Amazon Prime’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series has been eagerly anticipated by fans, but a new report claiming that the show may include Game of Thrones-type nudity has some of those same fans promising not to watch.
Amazon agreed in 2018 to a $250 million rights deal for a five-year series based on the Lord of the Rings books, which were written by the late Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien and include Christian themes.
Although the Peter Jackson-directed theatrical films from 2001 to 2003 contained no nudity or sexuality, such may not be the case for the Amazon series. The fansite TheOneRing.net reported it is “starting to see casting calls for actors ‘comfortable with nudity’” for the series. The entertainment news website Knight Edge Media linked to a casting call from BGT Actors Model & Talent it said was for the Amazon series.
The casting call sheet says the filmmakers in New Zealand “need Nude people based in Auckland -- age 18 plus, all shapes and sizes.”
Knight Edge Media also reported it has “discovered that the series may indeed feature sexual scenes between characters.” That’s because Jennifer Ward-Lealand, an intimacy coordinator, apparently has been hired to work on the new Amazon series, Knight Edge Media reported. An intimacy coordinator ensures the safety and wellbeing of actors and actresses during sex scenes. Ward-Lealand reported on her website “she had been hired as an intimacy coordinator on ‘Amazon’s UAP.’ Last year we revealed that UAP would be the working title for The Lord of the Rings series throughout production in New Zealand,” Knight Edge Media reported.
“It is a safe bet to believe that Amazon Studios is looking to make their Lord of the Rings adaptation a hard-R; which may upset longtime Tolkien fans,” Knight Edge Media reported. “This is in stark contrast to Peter Jackson’s film adaptations.”
TheOneRing.net is urging Amazon not to include nudity.
“AMAZON DON'T DO IT. DO NOT! This isn't Game of Thrones. Hedonism did not bring down Numenor,” a tweet from TheOneRing.net’s official Twitter account read.
We are starting to see casting calls for actors "comfortable with nudity"— TheOneRing.net (@theoneringnet) September 24, 2020
AMAZON DON'T DO IT
This isn't Game of Thrones. Hedonism did not bring down Numenor.
“Please don't! My whole family has been looking forward to this show!” tweeted one person in reference to TheOneRing.net report.
Please don't! My whole family has been looking forward to this show!— Dennis Swender, MBA (@dennisswender) October 4, 2020
“Tolkien's writings don't have sexual anything, the reason all the books are such a breath of fresh air is because it doesn't need sex or inappropriate stuff in order to tell a good story. If Amazon doesn't stay true to Tolkien then I'm not watching” another person tweeted.
Tolkien's writings don't have sexual anything, the reason all the books are such a breath of fresh air is because it doesn't need sex or inappropriate stuff in order to tell a good story. If Amazon doesn't stay true to Tolkien then I'm not watching.— ☆Emily☆ (@daydreamingnerd) September 24, 2020
“This is genuinely insane I cannot think of anything more sexless than lord of the rings,” a third person tweeted.
this is genuinely insane i cannot think of anything more sexless than lord of the rings https://t.co/P3mvr2oJ6F— sykler (@nopiss2019) September 24, 2020
Jared Moore, a pastor and the author of The Pop Culture Parent: Helping Kids Engage Their World for Christ, also urged Amazon Prime to reject nudity in the series. Moore is co-host of The Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast, available on multiple platforms.
"When should directors use nudity in their book adaptations and when should Christians see this nudity? The test for basic Christian ethics is God's two greatest commandments (Matt 22:37-39): 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. There are times when non-sexual nudity can be justified on the screen for the sake of loving our neighbors who lived this history, such as Schindler's List, to show evil, or Chernobyl, to show heroism,” Moore told Christian Headlines.
“But God's design for sexual nudity is for husbands and wives alone within marriage (Gen 2:24-25),” Moore added. “Lord of the Rings has been adapted several times without sexual nudity, and the story has no non-sexual nudity. Amazon, therefore, should reject the sinful urge to diminish Tolkien's story by attempting to produce a lustful response from the audience. Art should be enjoyed and adapted, not selfishly used to produce vice. Vice always veils beauty."
Photo courtesy: ©New Line Cinema
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.