Amazon Studios has tapped director Wayne Che Yip to join the creative team of its “Lord of the Rings” series adaptation as co-executive producer. The British Chinese helmer will handle four episodes of the fantasy epic now filming in New Zealand.
Yip will follow “LOTR” executive producer J.A. Bayona, who directed the first two episodes of the Amazon Originals series. The latest iteration of the “LOTR” franchise is set in Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s original “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” novels.
The series, which has an eight-episode initial order, is led by showrunners/executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
“It is a true honor to be invited into the world of Tolkien by J.D. & Patrick and Amazon Studios,” Yip said. “Every day I look forward to working with the incredible team here in New Zealand as we humbly contribute to the legacy of the greatest stories ever told.”
Yip has been a busy TV director in the U.K. and U.S. for the past decade, helming episodes of genre and drama series including BBC’s “Doctor Who” and “Tatau,” AMC’s “Preacher,” Channel 4’s “Utopia” and Showtime’s “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” More recently he has worked on Amazon drama “Hunters” and the streamer’s upcoming fantasy series “The Wheel of Time.”
Amazon has invested an estimated $250 million to secure the rights to the “LOTR” fantasy franchise from the Tolkien estate. The new series is something of a risky venture for Amazon as it is expected to veer away from the original texts in its storytelling. That raises the risk of a fan backlash.
Amazon describes its “LOTR” as following “an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.” There’s no official word yet on a premiere date.