Transcript: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ world premiere press conference
Press: Richard I want to ask you – we spoke this morning and you were talking about the barrel sequence down the river which I think is one of the highlights of the film and I had no idea that there actually was some real danger there. Do you feel like, can you tell the crowd here what you all went through and do you feel like it was worth it now that you’ve seen the finished product?Richard: I think the most dangerous part of filming the barrel sequence was when we were in these little cutoff Flintstone-style barrels which were powered by our feet because we were… it was like ___ and we bumping into each other and… but yeah, it came together in quite a few different places on the Pelorus river which is an extremely fast flowing river with a (missing word, laughs). It’s the end of the sequence and it’s… we were racing each other to get to the water (missing word).
Peter: And doesn’t Thorin say: We’ve got to get out of these barrels because there isn’t any current, we’ve lost the current?
Richard: Um… yeah.
Peter: Yeah, no it was really dangerous though, yeah.
Richard: I ended up getting dragged under by that very current…
Peter: He did actually. That is true. You got dragged under after you got out of the barrels.
Richard: That’s true. But we went into a sound stage where Pete had built a kind of water course powered by two V8 engines which we were there for about two weeks, weren’t we? And it was like being at a theme park for two weeks and they were dumping tons of water on us and trying to get us to go under the water but I think Martin had the most difficult role in that because he wasn’t in a barrel and there was an underwater camera and he would swap out with the stunt guy and it got quite hair-raising but I think it was worth it.
Peter: We had these big V8 water jet things that we built on a…like a circle…about as big as this room and yet we were worried because we thought how fast can we actually wind the engine up. We could sort of wind it up – the speed – and you know we better be careful because, you know, we don’t know quite, it’s going to be unpredictable and its was. We had stunt guys doing it around and around and testing it and everything else but you know these are actors – they’re a little bit fragile. (Gets a smiling, surprised look from Richard) But you know…but by the end of the first day the guys were just yelling faster, faster! Faster, faster, faster! And we had it on max. We had the thing going maximum pretty quickly.
Evangeline: The reference to those underwater camera shots is very interesting to me because of course I am just an audience member in most of the dwarves’ scene. I haven’t seen what they did. And the fact that there were underwater shots that I didn’t see – I didn’t see the underwater shots – is a testament to just how much footage we had and that Peter had to cut, I mean, an incredible amount of work that we did out of these films to squeeze them into three movies. Which would sort of explains why it went from 2 to 3 movies.
Peter: Just to talk about the barrels actually, there’s — one of the things that doesn’t really get referenced in the barrels is we also did another shoot on a different river in New Zealand. A river in the north island. And that was a shoot where… that’s a particular river… it’s like a gorge or a canyon – a rocky canyon that stretches about a mile and right at the head of the canyon is a big dam. And four times a day they open up the sluice gates and they just let this enormous torrent of water out and they let it out for ten minutes and then they close the gates again. And so we got a lot of the really kind of hair-raising barrel stuff in there.
It would be too dangerous to put a stunt guy down. I mean we didn’t even dare putting anyone in the barrels. We sent the barrels down completely empty and we put the digital dwarves in later but that got some great stuff, the more dramatic footage was this. And it was just great because we could set up the cameras when it was dry in between the dumps and we set up about six cameras right the way down the length of the gorge and then we were there for about three days and every single time, you know four times a day on the dot these things would open for ten minutes and we had a team up the top throwing the barrels in at the top and we had another guys, you didn’t know what the hell was going to happen to them. They just were filmed on the way down and we had a team at the bottom recovering the barrels. We lost three of them, I mean to this day we don’t know where three of barrels have gone.
Press: Benedict I want to know – so you and Martin Freeman – you’re Sherlock and you’re Watson. You’re now Bilbo and Smaug. What’s your vision on what the third collaboration that you and Martin will do? A buddy cop comedy, a love story? What could you guys do that you haven’t’ done yet?
Evangeline: Which one is Romeo and which one is Juliet?
Benedict: Oh come on! Come on! You know Martin would look very pretty in that blond wig. Yeah, no. The weird thing about it is all that chemistry and then it’s just, it was very peculiar acting by proxy with him. And there’s no joke to come out of that.
There’s no way I can say what it’s like down on the set (missing word). It’s very, very brilliant and he’s a bit of an inspiration to be around. So that was the biggest con really of what was otherwise a (great experience). I mean hearing all of these stories of the live action, perils and you know the amount of work that all these people at this table put in. I did my job in about 8 days. You know, I feel like I’m the cheater at the table really. So, thank you very much. But you know…yeah, yeah, Martin and I will probably have some kind of an outing in the future or something else. Who know? Who knows?Posted in Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Characters, Crew News, Dean O'Gorman, Director news, Evangeline Lilly, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien on December 6, 2013 by MrCere