Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Update from Ian McKellen's Hobbit Blog

Sir Ian McKellen has posted a new entry on his occasional blog from The Hobbit as he writes about his experiences both on set and off. In his latest entry he writes about his experiences as he moved about New Zealand, filming in the rain (because "3D cameras couldn't register the rain), and some of his experiences along the way such as stopping at Stafford and returning to Bag's End. The complete delightful entry can be found here.

Our first filming destination was Matamata, where eleven years ago Gandalf the Grey made his entrance into The Fellowship of the Ring, greeting Ian Holm’s Bilbo on the doorstep of Bag End. The site has since been sign-posted as “Hobbiton”, where tourists in search of Middle-earth could ponder the paltry remnants of our filming, a couple of round green doors propped against the hillside. That meant that the village had to be re-built and the gardens re-plotted for The Hobbit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer with Tintin

Andy Serkis previously confirmed that the teaser trailer for the two Hobbit films will come this Christmas. In an interview to promote Happy Feet Two, Elijah Wood told Digital Spy, "I have not seen it. I have spoken to people about the trailer; I have a sense of what's going to be in it. I think it's going to be in front of Tintin when it's released in the States." TinTin is set for release in the States on December 21st. This isn't exactly a surprise considering Peter Jackson is executive producer of the film along with Steven Spielberg and has made an effort to promote the film. Chances are the teaser gets its online release a few days before then. (via TOR)

Monday, November 28, 2011

AICN's The Hobbit Set Report Part 5

Once again Ain't It Cool News' Quint has posted the next part of his series of set reports from The Hobbit in New Zealand. The last part (part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4) focused on filming at Denize Bluffs' forest and continues to do so here. Below are the highlights, click here for the full article and set images.


AICN's The Hobbit Set Report Part 4

Quint of Ain’t It Cool News returns with another set report from The Hobbit that shifts from filming at Hobbiton to the town of Te Kuiti in northern New Zealand (part 1 | part 2 | part 3). The location is being used for several different forest scenes including the discovery of Sting. Below are the highlights, click here for the full article and more images from the location.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elijah Wood Talks 3D, The Hobbit, and Bloopers

In an interview with Den of Geek Elijah Wood talked about the planned 3D conversion of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, working on The Hobbit, and supporting a Rings blooper reel. The full interview can be found here, relevant snippets below.
“I think it would be cool to see. There’s talk of releasing a dimensionalised trilogy eventually. I’m okay with doing post-process 3D, as long as someone takes the time. What I’m upset about is when a movie doesn’t have the budget and the time to devote to it and they’re not fine-tuning the detail of that, because it can look really bad and cheap. But I know that they wouldn’t dimensionalise it unless it was a super meticulous process.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aragorn Not in The Hobbit

Despite his declarations of interest, Viggo Mortenson tells that he had not been approached to reprise the role of Aragorn for The Hobbit films. Considering filming is at least a third of the way through principle photography, it does seem like he would have been approached by now if a return was planned. Has Peter Jackson asked you to return to Middle Earth in the Hobbit movie in any capacity?
Mortensen: At one point, the producers asked if I would do it and I said sure if Aragorn is supposed to be in the bridge story because he's not in The Hobbit. I would rather do it than see someone else do it, but I've never been asked and they're shooting the movie. I'm not in it unless it there is some last-minute plan they have, but I thought I would have heard of it by now. Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett shot something, but they're elves and don't change as rapidly. As you know, Aragorn is half elf and also lives a couple hundred years or more and he could be in a bridge, but I have to assume it isn't going to happen. That was an important period in my life and I will always be grateful that the trilogy was so successful and gave me a lot of new opportunities. I never would have gotten A History of Violence, no matter how much David wanted me, had it not been for my newfound notoriety.
The character was alive at the time of The Hobbit but was not actually in the novel but then again neither were Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Orlando Bloom, and Hugo Weaving. While it is possible Peter Jackson is leaving this as a surprise, more than likely he just doesn't want to deal with Viggo Mortenson. The actor has a bit of a repuation for being a touch difficult on set and often led the charge in many of the legal suits that plagued the trilogy once it became a huge success. (via TOR)

Benedict On "Physicalizing" Smaug The Dragon

Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch discusses the rather unusual role he as for The Hobbit films with Collider in the video below. Not only will he voice Smaug the Dragon, one of the main villains of the films, but he will also provideg the physical performance for the creature. Typically the facial recordings might be used in recreating the performance but apparently that will extend to the full body of the creature to. Should be interesting to see how that works.

Bret McKenzie Discusses Returning to Middle-Earth

Flight of the Conchords Bret McKenzie recently spoke with Empire Online about returning to Middle-Earth to reprise his cameo role from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that fans affectionally called "Figwit".
"It was in Wellington so I could pretty much walk to work. It’s still a small part — I did a couple of days earlier this year — but it was great to get my pointy ears back on. It’s in 3D, so the ears will be extra pointy. You’ll be able to touch the ears."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elijah Wood with Sting on Colbert Report

Tuesday Elijah Wood appeared on The Colbert Report to promote Happy Feet 2 coming out this Friday. While there he very briefly spoke about The Hobbit films and took a moment to cross swords with Colbert, both of them using their Sting prop swords from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Stephen Colbert is a huge fan of the films, often referencing them on his show. The result being given the sword by Peter Jackson and was able to visit the set and learn things he isn't allowed to talk about but wants to. As for Wood, he reported he has just returned from filming at New Zealand and may back down later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hobbit Teaser Trailer This Christmas?

It seems Peter Jackson might be planning a little Christmas gift for Tolkien fans with a teaser trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. This info comes from IGN (via TOR) in an interview with Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum and 2nd Unit Director in the film. The teaser actually seems likely as would match the announcement trailer for The Lord of the Rings trilogy back in Christmas 2000.
With all this anticipation for The Hobbit, surely a teaser trailer should be dropping soon. After all, it was about one year ahead of Fellowship that we got that first teaser, and it was a doozy. IGN recently got to chat with Gollum himself, actor/motion-capture performer Andy Serkis, and we asked him that very question. His response? "There will be a trailer fairly soon, actually. Around Christmas time, I believe."

Monday, November 14, 2011

AICN's The Hobbit Set Report Part 3

Ain't It Cool News has posted the third set report (part 1 | part 2) from the Hobbiton set at Matamata, New Zealand. This report focuses on the final day of filming at Hobbiton along with the detials on prepping the set location for filming and as a tourist attraction. Below are the highlights, with usual spoiler warnings but nothing a reader of the novel isn't aware of. The full report, worth reading, can be found here.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

McKellen is "Soldiering On"

Sir Ian McKellen has updated his occasional blog from the set of The Hobbit movies. His latest addition has a brief look back at the start of his career on stage just after college as he waits to films action scenes as Gandalf. Below is the Gandalf segment, the full post can be found here.
Musings during a long wait today, which has been a respite from a lot of fighting in Middle-earth. In The Hobbit, Gandalf is part old duffer but more he's a soldier. Peter Jackson, who likes to see the old guys fighting it out, reminded me the other day that Gandalf is a commander, a general. Having slain the Great Goblin I was being a bit too indulgent with the dwarves who meanwhile had mislaid Bilbo in the goblin tunnels. I've played enough soldiers to see that PJ was right and in the next take I was very stern.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

McKellen Turned Down Gandalf

At this point in time it’s hard to imagine anyone else but Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, as revealed in an interview with Empire Magazine, that almost came to be. Empire is releasing a 10 year anniversary special (sheesh time flies as you get older) in a few weeks that reveals this nugget of trivia. McKellen initially turned down the role for most common of reasons in Hollywood - a filming schedule conflict.

"At the time I was about to play Magneto in the X-Men film in Toronto. I was already committed to that ... and it meant I couldn't get to New Zealand in time. So I had to tell Peter I could no longer do Gandalf.

It was that exact night that McKellen dined out at a London restaurant next to New Line Cinema executive Bob Shaye. He said, 'I hear you're going to be in our movie.' And I said, 'Oh, not anymore.' And he said, 'What's the problem?' And I explained. "He just said, 'Leave that to me'," said McKellen.

"That was the best thing he ever did for me, because they worked out they could do without me for the first three months ... that is what I remember of the beginning of it - how I very nearly didn't play Gandalf!"
I guess this experience gave Sir Peter Jackson the experience he needed for The Hobbit's own scheduling conflict. Martin Freeman was going to be forced to turn down the role of young Bilbo due to a schedule conflict with the filming of season 2 of Sherlock. However, Peter Jackson simply worked around that conflict.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Hobbiton Set Photos

For those that can't enough of Hobbiton click here for a nice gallery that shows off the gorgeous green hills and hobbit holes.

Lord of the Rings to Stream on Netflix

Good news for subscribers of Netflix in UK and Ireland as the company has signed a deal with MGM to give them the rights to streaming rights to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the two The Hobbit films. The rights include a lot of movies from MGM's huge movie libary. Click here for the press release, not sure when the older movies will become available. New movies will become available in streaming within a year after release.

Monday, November 07, 2011

AICN's The Hobbit Set Report Part 2

AICN's Quint has posted his second behind the scenes article from the New Zealand sets of The Hobbit. He is currently scheduled to be "embedded" with the cast and crew up to the start of the holiday break with periodic posts about his experience. Part 1 covered his first day on the set of Hobbiton. Part 2 is his experience as an extra, in full Hobbit makeup, for the filming at the location. His description of preparing and learning to be a Hobbit should be helpful for future cos play. Highlights below. I will leave the explanation of the pig Leroy uberballs for the full article here.

- Hobbit feet "technology" has changed since LOTR. It is now a silicone skin that goes up to the knee. Imagine a tight fitting boot of sorts.
- Quint's scene was at the bridge and mill marketplace in front of The Green Dragon (Hobbit watering hole). He was trained to "walk" a rooster for that his character would purchase from one of the stalls.
- Also trained by Terry Notary (Rocket in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) on how Hobbits walk ("lead with their knees and always happy, looking around"). To prevent the silicone foot from jiggling the walking step was heel-edge-toe.
- His rooster scene was changed to selling fish to young Bilbo so unless it gets cut in editing, there is a strong possibility he might be on screen for a few seconds.
- The scene takes place after Bilbo refuses Gandalf's invitation to go with the Dwarves to recover their treasure.
- Peter Jackson, when asked by Martin Freeman what Quint's character name would be, consulted The Hobbit Name Generator website which named him Fredegar Chubb. Freeman then incorporated the name in various takes.
- Since Hobbits are jolly folks, Peter Jackson encourages actors and extras to tell each other jokes and gossip to help them have the proper mood for when a take started.

My jealousy to hate for Quint continues...

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Hobbit Production Video #4

It took over three months but the fourth production video (or diary take your pick) has been posted on Director Peter Jackson's Facebook page. The wait is worth it as this video focuses on using 3D for filming with lots of looks at the sets and the many actors in full character makeup so a nice look at the new Bilbo, the Dwarves, Gandalf (with sword) and more. It’s also cool to see the highly detailed sets, costumes and makeup. The attention to detail is extraordinary. One part of the video focused on the creation of the film's concept art (while blurring out the dozens of images on the walls). Also showed how the artists created 3D art, literally drawing images twice but one colored red, the other blue so can combine to create a 3D image for the classic 3D glasses of old.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A very busy Benedict Cumberbatch commented to Variety about some of what he is doing to prepare for the role of Smaug for The Hobbit films. He said, "I'll be donning … well, probably not Andy Serkis' sweaty wet suit … I'm sure they dry clean it. Playing a reptile is something I don't believe has been done before. I've already started working out, crawling around on my belly whenever I can without alarming people too much."

Smaug is a large dragon that guards a huge Dwarf treasure trove that Bilbo Baggins and his band Dwarves are hoping to reclaim. Based on what he is saying it seems he will be doing more than providing the voice. He will also go the Gollum route of acting the part of a dragon. I imagine the goal will be not so much to capture the movements of a gigantic lizard but to get the subtle facial movements as the lines are acted.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Video Part 4

Warner Bros has posted their final video to promote the Lord of the Rings: War of the North that is in stores now. The first three videos can be found here, here and here. The video continues the theme of using the game actor, makers and attractive entertainment talent to talk about the franchise and why the game is worth getting.

Luke Evans Heading to New Zealand

Luke Evans, currently making the rounds to promote Immortal, spoke briefly with MovieFone about what his next on his schedule - The Hobbit. He will be spending the next year filming the role of Bard the Bowman, suggesting that the character will have a much more central role in events than he had in the book.
Have you been practicing your archery skills?
Yes, I was trained for three weeks in New Zealand with a stunt coordinator, learning my new weapon. I've gone from swords in 'Musketeers' and a bow -- a long bow at that -- for 'The Hobbit,' so it's been a really interesting education, because there's very different ways of using a bow and arrow, so I've learned lots of them to make it look realistic.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Video Part 3

Warner Bros has posted their third video to promote The Lord of the Rings: War of the North that is in stores now. The first two videos can be found here and here. The video continues the theme of using the game actor, makers and attractive entertainment talent to talk about the franchise and why the game is worth getting.

AICN's The Hobbit Set Report Part 1

Quint, of Ain't It Cool News, reminds us of why we should hate him or at least confuse intense jealousy for hate. He has been given a rare opportunity to not just report from a movie set, but to spend two months reporting from the sets of The Hobbit films. He will get to see first-hand what all the rest of us experience as brief glimpses in behind the scenes extra features. Did I mention he got to play a Hobbit extra? Yep, feeling the hate/jealousy.

The first report, which is just his first day on set, comes from Hobbiton. He reports from the first day the newly restored set started filming for the first time in 10 years. It begins with Frodo Baggins. Below is highlights (spoiler warning). The full report is worth reading, as includes a lot of little details and introduces you to some of the crew of the film. That can be found here.

- First scene shot is Frodo (Elijah Wood) getting the mail at Bag End. Later filmed placing a "No Admittance Except on Party Business", which is likely when the party of held for Bilbo Baggins in the opening of Fellowship.
- Ian Holm will reprise his role but through the magic of editing as his scenes where shot in London with Martin Freeman standing in on the Hobbiton set.
- The scene is Frodo wondering if Gandalf will show up with Bilbo saying he will to show off his "whiz-poppers."
- I guess this or something after leads old Bilbo to reminisce about when he was waiting on Gandalf as things transition to 60 years earlier as young Bilbo is smoking as Gandalf arrives to kick off his first adventure.
- Production intrusions went from the livestock not cooperating (runaway cow), to paparazzi showing up in loud plains and copters to takes pictures, ruining shots.