(Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman and John Bell as his son Bain.)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Ever wonder what you gave Luke Evans for his birthday? Few realized it, but the staff and readers of TheOneRing.net gave him a present back in April of 2011.
Evans celebrated his 32nd year with a party at Gas Works, a bar and grill just walking distance from Stone Street Studios, the movie lot where Peter Jackson makes movies, including the forthcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
In the mess tent of that set, on the white refrigerator that holds cream and milk and sundry items, near the always playing iPod, there hung a solicitation for all eyes to see: An open invitation from Luke Evans to celebrate his birthday on a Saturday night. (Regrettably I didn’t take a photo of the fridge.) The invitation was right there in perhaps the most trafficked spot on the lot, available for all, specified for none.
Are on-set reporters invited to cast and crew events? Advised by somebody from costume that it was absolutely okay (Jasmine I think, a real favorite), I decided to go only if could find a suitable gift from all of us, readers and staff of TORn. What would you buy an actor on behalf of the largest online Tolkien community? What does a guy making a living acting in New Zealand and away from home really want or need anyway? (more…)
Posted in Character Q&A, Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Nesbitt, John Bell, Locations Sets, Luke Evans, Mary Nesbit, MrCere in New Zealand, Peggy Nesbit, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
Its always nice to hear from Weta Workshop, but its especially nice when they drop something beautiful in our mailbox. This time it is concept art work from “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design,” book. Written by Daniel Falconer, this is likely to be an amazing book. TORn got its first look at a similar book by Falconer for the previous movie and it turned out to be as stunning as we imagined it might be. Those who have had occasion to meet the author, who does extensive design work for Weta, know that he is gracious and smart and passionate about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Click for larger version
While the masses in the U.S. are out shopping, you can order one of these now and during the pre-order phase, your book gets signed by the concept artists and comes with a “Dragon’s Gold” for Weta discounts and prizes. As you can see above, the image we received is of Lake-Town, from the desks of Alan Lee (who writes the book’s introduction) and John Howe. And please click for the larger version, it is definitely worth
They also included some previously released Elf concept art which you can see below. You can order the book RIGHT HERE. Expect this art to pop up in other places soon and more will be released as Weta and HarperCollins see fit, but for Hobbit fans, this may be among the very best of seasonal gifts.
Posted in Alan Lee, Books, Books Publications, Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Howe, Merchandise, Ra Vincent, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Weta Collectibles
Dolby Laboratories sent TheOneRing.net a press release today that might rank among the least surprising press releases ever. Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” will resoundingly ring out at its world premiere in Dolby Atmos. Some of here at TORn are big fans of the Atmos sound experience with its ceiling mounted speakers that allows sound engineers the ability to create a sound landscape, a step beyond surround systems.
Thranduil, King of the Wood-elves.
If you want to find a Dolby Atmos theater, you can just CLICK HERE
and find one near you. If you live in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota or South Dakota, enjoy your road trip.
Most people go to films and are happy just to make it through previews, “clever” ways to tell viewers to shut their phones off and then watch Dolby’s promotion for what audiences are about to hear. But being the movie nerds we are around here, some of us celebrate motion picture sound and the chance to be further transported out of the theater and into a three dimensional auditory experience. No surprise, Peter Jackson embraces new technology and never misses a chance to tell the most vibrant story possible. So, just as with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” DOS will have the newest, best sound experience at the premiere and select theaters.
For those readers who aren’t sound nerds, Atmos allows technicians to create sounds anywhere in the theater, not just where speakers are. This sounds too good to be true, and we can’t explain it here, but in the right theater you can listen carefully to the Radagast sequence where he is dashing through the undergrowth and spiders crawl on his house to appreciate it. You will hear it. Anyway, this is great news even if it surprised nobody. Not paid anything by Dolby (but hey Dolby, feel free) I intentionally seek out the Atmos theater in my city whenever possible.
Dolby also has this page dedicated to Atmos and AUJ if you want to do a little home work. And below is a video of director Guillermo del Toro talking about the sound. Below that, the full press release from today. (more…)
Posted in Director news, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros.
A Journey Through Middle-earth, an interactive experiment by Google Chrome.
Part of the celebration of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” is a new Google Chrome initiative that uses technology to lead users to a digital experience of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary creation. You visit by clicking RIGHT HERE (http://middle-earth.thehobbit.com/) and trolling around the map with zoom features. Three locations are immediately available: The Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell and Dol Guldur. Others, like Thranduil’s Hall, are locked.
Below is a YouTube commercial for it and below that, the full press release.
“A JOURNEY THROUGH MIDDLE-EARTH”
PREMIERES ACROSS COMPUTERS, TABLETS AND PHONES
Burbank, CA, November 20, 2013—Inspired by the epic fantasy adventure “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “A Journey Through Middle-earth,” is a new Chrome Experiment that brings the locations and characters from “The Hobbit” Trilogy to life with a mix of modern web technologies. The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, will be released worldwide December 13, 2013, from Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.
The online experience, developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with the studios, takes fans through an adventure that unfolds across an interactive map of Middle-earth. Users can zoom in to explore Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell and Dol Guldur, with new locations set to be added in the weeks ahead. Each destination on the map gives the visitor access to its history and the characters who inhabit it, or presents unique survival challenges in which fans can test their wits.
With immersive 3D graphics built with CSS3 and WebGL, “Journey Through Middle-earth” is the first Chrome Experiment designed to bring this beautiful, 3D experience to mobile, with technology support for WebGL in Chrome for Android on devices with high-end graphics cards. Although WebGL isn’t supported on iOS, Chrome users can still experience most of “Journey Through Middle-earth” on their iPhones and iPads.
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, comes “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The screenplay for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.
Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a Wingnut Films Production, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.
Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D
The home video market is dead or dying — so they say. The digital age has brought on massive changes on how we view movies and in a relatively short time. The ways we consumed the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy is vastly different from how we tackle “The Hobbit.”
Many consumers actually jumped to the DVD format from VHS tapes with “Fellowship of the Ring.” But in the digital revolution, that was ages ago, back when everybody bought movies for home use and there was seemingly ever growing stacks of money to be made from that market.
Studios once had a cash cow in DVDs but the milk has dried up now. Once, extravagant DVDs and box sets ruled store shelves while today we visit Red Box and Netflix.
So when a Blu-ray like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Extended Edition,” comes to market it is going against the grain, against conventional wisdom and against market trends. It’s also the best home release of 2013.
The film is still the film. If you loved it you will love it more. If you had problems with it, you will still have problems with it. The added time didn’t fix what people say is broken. But if you haven’t seen the film, for the home experience, I do recommend the Extended Edition. The length includes some character moments that make the film more a little more satisfying but not in a major way. A bathroom break is close to mandatory and while you can’t pause a theater, its easy from your own couch.
But while many think about the movie, make no mistake, the real prize here are The Appendicies content; Those who are only looking at this for the film are missing the point entirely. In fact, this collection, is itself a tremendous film that would be worth buying even without the cinema release. The movie itself is essential in the package, but what launches these discs into rare air is everything else that comes with it.
Prone to exercise laudatory caution because I write for TheOneRing, and I realize too much praise causes readers to become dismissive and classify the writer as a fan boy, I still proclaim with no hesitation that this is among the finest home video releases in history. It sits on a shelf in rarefied air with a very few discs that can even compare. Among those are the Extended LOTR editions, of which this is a companion piece.
While we are here talking credentials, let me fully disclose that I was on set to witness “The Hobbit,” being filmed for five weeks and I know (and like) many on all sides of the camera. More than that, I also interned for a couple of weeks with the producers of the behind-the-scenes content. I am even credited for extra interviews, so take my perceptions as you wish.
Even if you didn’t love the movie, the exploration of the process is a wonder to behold and the whole is a triumph. And, this triumph comes with WB and MGM financing this content behind-the-scenes content. This level of excellence doesn’t just happen and it isn’t cheap. It takes financial commitment, planning and time. With rumors of late delivery circulating, creating a shortage of discs in some places, I believe I speak for many fans who emphatically say, “So what? The wait is worth it.”
Despite all the greatness on the discs, there are a few things that are disappointing, so lets start with those.
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition
There is nothing about these covers that are exceptional or especially tasteful to tell consumers that these aren’t just another release on a store shelf. For some reason, with few exceptions, the marketing at Warner Bros. insists on slapping a bunch of floating character mugshots in a college for these films at every opportunity. More isn’t better and especially when even the casual audience knows what “The Hobbit,” is. Nobody is saying, “What? Gandalf is also in this movie?!”
A cover with a central visual idea would be a vast improvement and for these discs, there should be a graceful, classic cover, not a garish collection of floating heads. Better still would have been a style match with the LOTR EEs. The back of the 3-disc Blu-ray is actually great and would serve as a nice cover.
While we are here, the Bilbo in front of Erebor “Desolation of Smaug,” poster was infinitely more powerful that the nightmare LSD trip of Middle-earth’s usual suspects in the latest one. Boo. Very much related, if the Hobbit home video release couldn’t be a stylized match with the LOTR releases, at least we could have had a strong central character instead of a collection of them that says nothing.
Gollum and Bilbo exchanging riddles in the dark might be a place to start. The film’s strongest sequence, virtually perfect even, highlights a key moment in Middle-earth, sells us a familiar character and gives us an absolute iconic moment from literature. If things were right in the world, WB would issue an inexpensive replacement slip cover for a couple of dollars that ties this release back to the LOTR EEs. Seriously.
The art on the discs are quite good.
The commentaries with Philippa Boyens (writer, producer) and Peter Jackson (writer, director, producer) are good, but again, this is meant to be a companion disc and viewers really want more commentary perspectives as they were given in the LOTR discs. Obviously the filmmaker’s take are essential but including cast or key figures like Dan Hennah or Richard Taylor might be expensive, and not financially viable by the studios, but they are sorely missed. An unrealistic dream commentary might be to have all 13 main dwarf actors on one track or two tracks with half on each. Careful sound editing would be needed but Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Graham McTavish, John Callen and William Kircher and all the rest, would be brilliant. There are two movies left to get this right.
I am sure there are many who will take exception to comparing the discs but for certain, many consumers are doing it. These are intellectually built to go together.
But, lets move on to the good (great) with a look at what is included on most versions of the film. It is worth noting that there is a Wal-Mart version of the Extended Editions available with minimal extras. (Hate to call them extras because they are main featured content.) Even if consumers think they want to save a few dollars and get that version, they actually don’t. There is no circumstance where that option is a wise choice. Any viewer willing to commit to a three-hour Extended Edition deserves to have the story of the film as well for a few dollars difference. Friends don’t let friends buy foolishly.
Extended Edition of the film with filmmakers’ commentary and
“New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth”
The commentary is mentioned above but the video feature sounds like it might be a commercial for New Zealand. It is actually, with celebrity endorsements. Newsflash: New Zealand is amazing.
The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey -
This is a timeline of the movie that breaks down into parts how it was made, more or less, following the chronology of the film. Of course films aren’t made chronologically, but following the organization of the film is helpful. And the docs aren’t strictly about “how we did this,” as much as they highlight interesting stories from a particular segment of the production.
The beefiest is the first, “The Journey Back to Middle-earth,” which also happens to be excellent. It follows the almost absurd series of roadblocks that threatened to keep this film from being made. Viewers who followed TheOneRing will recall those days when it seemed time and again, fate had conspired to kill the film. This is excellent content that wouldn’t be included on many DVDs of other films.
The studios bravely allowed the team to tackle subjects like the financial problems that almost derailed the films and the hiring and departure of Guillermo del Toro.
It would have been much safer to sanitize these events and it happens on many Hollywood “extras” projects but here they are addressed head on — an impressive inclusion. That first documentary is a definite highlight but every single one of them holds up high standards of storytelling and visuals that feel as though the essential moments were not only talked about but captured.
It is in fact the best big-story view on this topic available in either print or film. To better understand sitting down and watching “The Hobbit,” in the cinema, this is essential viewing. It is also great not to start with the first day of pre-production but to have a wider view of the whole works.
One of the best segments, perhaps my favorite, is “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London.” The fact that the production went to London to film Sir Christopher Lee and Ian Holm is common knowledge. A lesser documentary might spend its time making just the fact of traveling from New Zealand to London to shoot the focus of the story. Instead, that is established and then the focus is placed on something far more interesting than it just happening: Lee and Holm.
Jackson and Lee are on camera holding up production so those gathered around can listen to Lee remember parts of his life that are legendary on the silver screen. He also gives Jackson some good-natured crap and it is respectfully returned. Graham McTavish and Adam Brown are also on hand, despite not filming, to listen to Lee and help the storytelling by putting his presence in perspective. It is gold and in fact, it is a pity somebody doesn’t produce an entire film based on the man behind Saruman.
Included in the same section is a pretty incredible give-and-take between Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Fran Walsh on a telephone and Ian McKellen. They discussed character motivations and all the bigger questions behind the dialog on the script page. It is pretty incredible. There are some excellent moments with Hugo Weaving. It all felt intimate, rare and was fascinating.
There are a lot of bright spots here and in fact they are more or less all bright spots, or will be to somebody. The producers and director Michael Pellerin seemingly pushed for excellence and achieved it.
- The Journey Back to Middle-earth
- Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave
- An Unexpected Party: Bag End
- Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
- Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
- A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
- Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
- Under Hill: Goblin Town
- Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
- Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
- The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
- The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
- Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
- Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead
Jackson also appears on an introduction to promise more extended editions with DOS and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”
The Appendices Part 8: Return to Middle-Earth -
This disc delivers production details, some conspicuously missing from the film. For example:
The Company of Thorin -
The families of the dwarves are grouped together to give us more details and insights into these characters and actors. These associations are pretty tough to pick out on screen but are well presented here. Knowing more about these characters will likely enhance view of “The Desolation of Smaug.” Pity some of this wasn’t woven into the narrative. If you aren’t keeping score the chapters are, by family:
- Assembling the Dwarves
- Thorin, Fili & Kili
- Balin & Dwalin
- Oin & Gloin
- Dori, Nori & Ori
- Bifur, Bofur & Bombur
Martin Freeman enjoys telling the behind-the-scenes cameras they are number one, always with his middle finger or fingers. Here is another case of content many studios would shy away from, but a short collection of Freeman giving the one-fingered salute is part of the reveal of who this Martin Freeman is.
So in the next segment, and perhaps my favorite on this disc, we meet:
Software brought Gollum’s skin to life for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” earning it an Oscar for technology and science
Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member
Next we get more tasty features:
- Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves
- The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth
- These are broken into chapters:
- The Stone Trolls
- Radagast the Brown
- Azog the Defiler
Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town — We spend an hour with locations, time well spent.
- The Misty Mountains
- Goblin Town
The Songs of The Hobbit – A look at the realization of Tolkien’s songs in An Unexpected Journey.
This last item is another of my favorites. It demonstrates that despite being last, it isn’t any less interesting that what came before. There isn’t fat here to pad out the disc but instead highly polished, carefully produced, interesting, quality content.
The movie looks and sounds great, showing off how good Andrew Lesnie and his team are at shooting moving pictures. How great does it look? If you go to the audio, visual, home theater or electronics stores, bring the Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with you to test out the things you might buy. The picture is lovely with great details in blacks (Riddles in the Dark) excellent color and all the rich details coming to life. Hate to sound hyperbolic, but when it comes to audio and visual excellence, this disc is leading the industry.
The sound comes in 7.1 surround, meaning it can send seven sounds to seven speakers to create a sound atmosphere, if you home is equipped, showing off the genuine excellence in sound design through out the film. This is a noisy movie with loud characters, loud animals and orcs, some dragon scenes, deep rumbling stone giants and lots of general chaos.
But, the dialog is always ready and easy to hear, including some pretty subtle Ian McKellen lines that come through just fine. In fact, if you have the proper system in your home, sitting in the middle of the sound environment, closing your eyes and just listening is a real pleasure.
This movie is worth owning a Blu-ray player for. The film, no matter how much you like it or don’t, is technically amazing. The extra scenes improve it slightly but just as importantly, there is a wealth of documentaries that are collectively and individually great and paint an excellent picture of what made “The Hobbit,” happen. I meant it when I said it above, this is among the finest home video releases in history. Minor quibbles aside, MGM and Warner Bros. did right by fans and this does stand alongside its LOTR EE predecessors. While this film doesn’t extended as much or as importantly, its extras are as good and perhaps better.
Posted in Blu-Ray, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Director news, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, MGM, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros.
“Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Extended Edition
Warner Bros. has responded to TheOneRing.net’s request for further information about “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Extended Edition after fans expressed confusion and reported the sets were difficult to find.
TORn’s news leader Demosthenes posted this article about the availability of on DVD and Blu-ray to highlight the frustrations fans were bombarding TheOneRing.net with. Warner provided the following information for us to pass on to consumers:
“We are thrilled at the fan reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition. We’ve been made aware that certain retail outlets are sold out, and we are working as quickly as possible to replenish stock so fans can get their copies on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD. We understand that there is some confusion regarding what product is available at each retailer and would like to provide clarification.
There are three products currently available at retailers nationwide:
* 5-disc Blu-ray 3D + Digital HD UltraViolet
* 3-disc Blu-ray + Digital HD UltraViolet
* 5-disc DVD + Digital UltraViolet
Please note that Target will have the Blu-ray and DVD available on December 1st.
In addition to the national product, several retailers have unique product offerings as follows:
* 3-disc Blu-ray + Digital HD UltraViolet with Bilbo/Gollum Statue
* 5-disc Blu-ray 3D + Digital HD UltraViolet with Bilbo/Gollum Statue
* 2-disc DVD including Extended Edition Feature Film and Special Features “The Company of Thorin,” and “Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves”
* 4-disc Blu-ray 3D Steelbook:
- Disc 1: Blu-ray 3D Extended Edition Feature Part
- Disc 2: Blu-ray 3D Extended Edition Feature Part 1
- Disc 3: The Appendices Part 7
- Disc 4: The Appendices Part”
Editorializing a bit: The Wal-Mart 2-disc DVD probably isn’t meant for TORn readers but it is a real pity that casual buyers will fork out money for that edition and never realize that for a relatively small amount more, a treasure trove of beyond-industry-standard content awaits. (A complete review coming soon.) The home video market isn’t what it used to be, but this is a landmark title that consumers I know, including even casual fans, expect to be of the same standard as the history making LOTR EE versions. However it may serve some audiences perfectly and it may have been a way to manufacture and ship the DVDs early to impulse buyers.
By not flooding stores by Black Friday in the U.S., (an enormous retail day immediately following U.S. Thanksgiving) sales will be less than they could have been. On the other hand, many fans have echoed the same thought through social media and in our in boxes: If it takes longer to release the best possible version of film and extras, it is worth the wait. We will of course provide further information as it becomes available.
Check the gallery below to see the product specifics.
Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray, DVDs, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, MGM, Shop, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Wal-Mart 2-disc DVD
Extended Edition national DVD
Extended Edition national Blu-ray
Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D
Best Buy 4-disc Blu-ray 3D steelbook
Amazon Blu-ray with statue
Amazon Blu-ray 3D with statue
In case the new one-sheet posters, new trailer, live fan event, streaming fan event, interviews, magazine covers and actors around the globe wasn’t enough, Peter Jackson has posted Production Diary #12. You can see it right here. It looks to have some up-front action and then focuses on post-production. The behind-the-scenes team, as always has produced an excellent look behind the curtain, this one checking in at eight minutes long. All the usual subjects are there, like Andy Serkis, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Jed Brophy and on and on. Enjoy!
Posted in Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Part one of this spotlight on Evangeline Lilly and her character Tauriel was published yesterday. Click here to read it.
In the first part of this story, Evangeline Lilly discussed her childhood love for “The Hobbit,” and her decision-making process that led her to move her family to New Zealand and work with director Peter Jackson as a character not found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s 75-year-old classic. She plays an elf in the forest kingdom of Thranduil where his son Legolas also lives.
(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)
How does an actor differentiate her character in a set of films stuffed full with grand, immortal elves?
“Somebody asked me, ‘Did you study a lot of the other elves? The performances of the elves from Rings to do this role?’ I said distinctly ‘no.’ I intentionally didn’t re-watch the movies because I was afraid of trying to copy someone’s performance and I wanted it to be original.”
“All the other elves you’ve ever seen in these movies are at least twice my age, at least twice Tauriel’s age, so they are very wise and they’re very well established in their power and their understanding of the world. I’ve intentionally tried to demonstrate that she’s not there yet. She’s young, she’s only 600 years old and in elven terms, that is so young. She’s just a baby.”
Lilly is even playing some layers of the role in a way she wants those diehard fans to understand.
“I like the idea of playing with a young elf, how would they behave? How would they be different from the aged elves? And I hope that it doesn’t come across as wrong, you know what I mean? I hope it doesn’t come across to people who really know the world as she’s not quite got it down. Because that’s my goal, to not quite have it.
“She wants to be as wise, she wants to be as much of a presence as all of her elders but she’s not. She’s a kid and there’s a part of her that is always a little too excited about things or maybe a little too engaged in the world, the way kids can get. And I think that was something I wanted to tell the really diehard fans.
“I want them to know that she is young so that when they look at the performance and they look at the character they understand the context.” (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Evangeline Lilly, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Leith McPherson, Locations Sets, MrCere in New Zealand, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
(Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Those outside of the movie making business often don’t understand what The Producer does on a film. The quickest answer is: They get the movie made. They get things done.
In the case of Zane Weiner on “The Hobbit,” it meant getting in touch with someone nobody was meant to get in touch with.
Living in Hawaii, she was a month removed from the birth of her child, email turned off, not taking calls about work and still confined to bed rest.
“So I was still in bed with the baby,” she told TheOneRing.net in full Tauriel outfit and gear during a lunch break on a full day of filming on “The Hobbit.”
This lunch tent, while perhaps not glamorous, is an essential part of Stone Street Studios and making Peter Jackson movies, designed to feed and shelter quite an enormous crowd. Breakfast was served there for anybody wanting to start the day off right. Coffee and tea were available on any sound stage but also in the tent — a first stop for many on a shoot. (more…)
Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Hadlow, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
(The outdoor Lake-Town wet set with extras and crew assembled for a night shoot on “The Hobbit.”)
WELLINGTON — The great cities of history have risen up around rivers, lakes and on coasts. Water holds vast and replenishing stores of food, improves transportation of people and goods, encourages trade, and of course keeps a population hydrated. Paris. London. Hong Kong. New York. Tokyo. Moscow. Boston. On and on.
Lake-town benefitted from excellent transportation and presumably a wealth of fish and food and clean, fresh water but it was built on water for a different reason.
One dragon in particular: Smaug The Terrible.
Tolkien’s Lake-town, like real-world Venice, was built on wooden pillars sunk into water. The lake men — with the destruction of Dale seared forever into their memory — built on water for safety. We watched it in the prolog of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” while they had to live with the fear of dragon every day. Water-based living provided at least a chance against the great and terrible worm if he ever attacked again.
Survival was the challenge for the city builders in Middle-earth but for Peter Jackson’s film version of Lake-town, dragon-sized demands included creating visuals to sell a water-based town to the audience and to provide a playground to let actors fully realize characters and moments. (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Casting Rumors, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, Luke Evans, MrCere in New Zealand, Ra Vincent, Ryan Gage, Simon Bright, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Bilbo looks over the trees in Mirkwood Forest.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of many set visit reports that will publish weekly from now until the premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” We will update this post with photos from the set visit as soon as possible.
Ian McKellen as Gandalf.
WELLINGTON — Thousands of creative hands will have touched “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” by the time it hits movie screens. For those making the film it means long hours, pushing the limits of creativity, people and technology. It is accurate to say every frame is filled with passion, lots of passion.
Despite all the love for the project from every quarter, there is a group that may be the least-heralded, most overlooked, and yet whose passion for the project is surpassed by no man — or woman. They will receive no awards, no fame, no recognition and yet, they loved their work on “The Hobbit,” and legions of fans would have willingly taken their place in a heartbeat.
They are called “extras,” and for these films that meant extra passion, extra time and extra fun.
How would I know? Well, I was one of them!
I am a staffer here at TheOneRing.net (TORn), contributing for over a decade to the all-volunteer, not-for profit website forged by and for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. In that time I formed a bond of trust and friendship with people on all sides of the production.
Warners Bros. and the production team on “The Hobbit,” invited me, as a representative of TORn, to not only visit the set but to be embedded there as a journalist for five weeks. Every working day for a month and a week in 2012, I woke up and reported to set near Wellington, New Zealand where Peter Jackson and his team of filmmakers were putting together the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved children’s book, “The Hobbit.”
I can hardly believe this happened even though I remember it with incredible clarity. It seems surreal now — as it did every day when I arrived, showed my badge to security and walked into the grounds where Middle-earth would be created for audiences world wide. Each day was appreciated.
For me, it was absolutely life changing.
Repeating for emphasis: Life changing. (more…)
Posted in Casting Calls, Director news, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Ryan Gage, Stephen Fry, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien
ATLANTA — Dragon Con is overflowing with great content and celebrities but it also features all-night dance and party events that are safe for guests who stay in the hotels and can live large without fear of ever getting in a car or being in a city late. Dragon Con never sleeps! This year the Tolkien Track invited TORn’s staffer Deej to Dee-jay a dance party. (We don’t call her Deej for nothing!)
As the Tolkien Track programmer, I was really excited to add another lively event to our lineup but up until the moment the doors opened on Dragon Con’s Saturday night, I was fearful nobody would show up! Staffer greendragon was another key co-conspiritor and Dragon Con set up audio and video to bring it all to life. They also packed a ballroom with chairs, which, it turns out, were hardly needed at all because everybody was dancing! The moment the doors opened the evening was full on and the costumes with touches of ’80s were absolutely radical! Adding to the fun were the many costumes from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Jelly bracelets were tossed into the audience but most everybody showed up ready to do it the ’80s way. There were bigger dance parties at the event but better? Doubtful. In fact, this
might have been probably was the hottest Middle-earth ’80s dance party in the history of the world! (Until next year.)
Track staffer Jim Wert was a pimped out Hobbit acting as security (and looking good doing it) while TORn staffer Thor was a talent scout and brought groups on stage to really strut their stuff. In short it was totally awesome! Filmmaker Dan McBride, was convnced to be on hand to catch the low-light dancing and the following video is a bit of a highlight of the party that went on and on until finally Dragon Con tech and crew had to call it a night. TheOneRing.net and Dragon Con’s Tolkien’s Middle-earth fan track thank all involved, definitely including the exciting dancers, for a night to remember! (And it will definitely happen again next year.) So enjoy the video and, you know, share it!
Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug