Monday, November 09, 2009

Guillermo On Making the Hobbit

The Hobbit Director Guillermo Del Toro recently spoke with Total Film about the status of films. He discusses some of the challenges the film will involve, working on the script, Gandalf's role, creature design and more. The full article is here, snippets below.
How did it work with the writing of the script? Presumably you’ve had as much input as Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens?
Many, many months ago we sat down to discuss the structure with 3in by 5in cards and we laid out the two movies.

We were meeting on a daily basis at 9am and we would go at it for hours, into the afternoon. Then in the afternoon I would go to check on design.

Then at one point we split into two teams: I did one pass at things and they did a pass at things; it’s pretty much the way I’m used to co-writing.

But I must say what was great and what made a big difference was the amount of great ideas that I felt were generated in a day – it was staggering.

We could have written three or four versions of The Hobbit [laughs].

You mentioned the structure. Will the book make up the first movie, with the second movie plucked from the appendices and maybe even your imagination? Or will parts of the book be saved for the second movie?
We are respecting the structure established by Professor Tolkien because the order of the adventures in The Hobbit is well known to generations and generations of kids. You don’t want to be moving stuff like that.

But we will be integrating Gandalf’s comings and goings because he does disappear in the book quite often.

So, as opposed to the book, we see where he goes and what happens to him

Smaug won’t be like the dragons in Reign Of Fire, say. Was it a big challenge to communicate his character?
I think one of the designs I’m the proudest of is Smaug. Obviously he took the longest.

It’s actually still active: we’re finishing his colour palette and a little bit of the texture. But the bulk of the design took about a year, solid. It’s because of the unique features of the dragon.

Early in production I came up with a very strong idea that would separate Smaug from every other dragon ever made. The problem was implementing that idea. But I think we’ve nailed it.

How about the scale of The Hobbit? You’ve done big action sequences in Mimic, the Hellboy movies and Blade II, but you’ve never tackled anything like the climactic Battle of Five Armies…No – and I think that I’m really quite eager to go and do that. But at the same time there were so many battles in the trilogy. So one of the first things is how do we make the battles or the action in The Hobbit feel different from that?

Because it was fresh when the trilogy came out, to see those enormous valleys or fortresses being invaded by warriors.

But then after the trilogy you had Troy, Narnia, everything. It has become quite common seeing two massive CG armies attacking each other.

So we came up with a good solution, I think. It will make the battles stand out

Will you be using the same palette as the trilogy, dark and fertile?
I think The Hobbit is a bit more colourful. And a bit more operatic. And whimsical. One of the things the book marks very strongly is the seasons, so we’re using that as the basis of our thought.

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