Thursday, December 06, 2012

Peter Jackson On Casting Martin Freeman, Trilogy Choice

In a press conference to promote The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Director Peter Jackson discussed the casting Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and defended the decision to expand The Hobbit into another trilogy.

"Martin was the only person that we wanted for that role, and that was really before we met Martin. We knew him from The Office and Hitchhiker’s Guide [to the Galaxy], and we just felt he had qualities that would be perfect for Bilbo. The stuffy repressed English quality. He’s a dramatic actor, he’s not a comedian, but he has a talent for comedy."

Because Martin was contracted to BBC's Sherlock, "We were in trouble. I was really panicking. I was having sleepless nights. We were probably six weeks away from the beginning of the shoot, and we hadn’t settled on anyone else, and I was torturing myself by watching Sherlock on an iPad at 4 o’clock in the morning."

The workaround was to create a two month break in filming so Freeman could film Sherlock. He used that time to edit a rough draft of the film so could make adjustments once filming resumed. An advantage that Jackson will be able to use again when filming resumes sometime next year to film the additional scenes now that The Hobbit is a trilogy.

"The book is written in a very brisk pace, so pretty major events in the story are covered in only two or three pages. So once you start to develop the scenes and plus you wanted to do a little bit more character development, plus the fact that we could also adapt the appendices of Return of the King, which is 100-odd pages of material that sort of takes place around the time of The Hobbit, so we wanted to expand the story of The Hobbit a little bit more, as did Tolkien himself. So all those factors combined gave us the material to do it."

Sir Ian McKellen: "Anyone who thinks Peter Jackson would fall for market forces around him rather than artistic integrity doesn’t know the guy or the body of his work. If we just made one movie, The Hobbit, the fact is that all the fans, the eight-, nine- and 10-year-old boys, they would watch it 1000 times. Now, they’ve got three films they can watch 1000 times."

As for these covers, they are from the next Entertainment Weekly cover that hits newstands on Friday.

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