MIRAMAR, New Zealand — The director’s tent. Inside a sound stage or outside on location, it is a constant and central fixture on a movie shoot. It is home base for Peter Jackson and his team.
It is sacred ground – well almost.
The decisions made inside it, by the team, under Jackson’s direction, are crucial to the project where it is determined what will later happen in front of the camera.
So every day, whatever happens to a set or a soundstage overnight, the tent is there set up and waiting for the core of the shooting unit.
Editor Jabez Olssen, Script Supervisor Victoria Sullivan and First Assistant Director Carolynne Cunningham call it home during the shoot. Cunningham is out a lot, Olssen and Sullivan less so and Producer Zane Weiner is always near. Jackson’s assistant Sebastian Meek is in and out at all times, bringing badly needed tea and watching the door from outside to eliminate distractions inside.
Jackson lives on tea and Meek has a talent for having it handy at the perfect moment.
SETTING THE SCENE
In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via TheOneRing.net, to be on set during five weeks of the filming of the Hobbit films. At the time, it was still scheduled to be two movies and the production had just settled in to shoot in studio instead of on location. Much was unknown then, that now is completely familiar to fans.
When I first arrived at Stone Street Studios, the publicity team took me to set, showed me the ropes and left me to my own devices during the rest of my stay to meet folks and get interviews, which was great. No time and no need for babysitting.
I was there to be a good guest and to observe. Two weeks later I was definitely convinced I had no chance of talking to Peter Jackson, except for an occasional, “Hello, how are you getting on?” from him during my time there.
Fans world-wide know from production diaries, how exhausted Jackson gets during the shooting phase of filmmaking. It is important to really understand why.
Peter Jackson is a busy guy. Particularly when he is shooting, there is a lot to do in a day and a lot of people that need to understand his vision in order to do their jobs well; he is the hub of the great spinning wheel.
He is the director, a writer and a producer — each a big job on its own. Many films have one of each of those, or several of some, all working together. But Jackson was all of them at once and combining titles didn’t mean there was less work to be done. Just because he was reviewing shots didn’t mean the script didn’t need his touch or that the art department didn’t need his input as a director or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these fronts but they also required Jackson.
In a day he might need to meet with the effects supervisor, set designers, concept designers, costume designers, the composer or see actual costumes for approval or changes to name just a few of the many things that require his time. He will confirm the schedule with his Assistant Director, producers and spend time with the Second Unit Director Andy Serkis to make sure all is to his liking. They need sets built, greens grown, sets decorated, concept guys working ahead, materials guys building everything, maximizing actors’ time, feeding all of those people, screening extras, bringing in the right number of prosthetic artists and on and on. In short, there is never a shortage of people who need Jackson’s input to work on his vision and it takes the logistics of, dare I say, planning a battle with five armies.
In short, he has to sign off on pretty much everything.
Those are the reasons “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and his other Hobbit movies are genuinely Peter Jackson movies. It also means he is booked.
THE FINAL HOURS
And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that it would happen — it did.
Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill, I was invited to that director’s tent to sit and talk with PJ, just the two of us alone. (One editor asked me if we ate together in the tent but I don’t think so, but why many memories are crystal clear of that meeting, I just have no idea.)
I had been inside before, but not often. The day I shadowed him, I spent several hours, trying to melt into the background. This was his sanctuary and office.
Posted in Alan Lee, Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Director news, Director Rumors, Evangeline Lilly, Fans, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Production, Silmarillion, Studios, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — We talked to Orlando Bloom in a sound stage on set during filming of The Hobbit movies. Bloom is a massive movie star, more than he is an actor, he is a franchise actor in series of films that have grossed billions. Of all the folks we interviewed I knew him the least (not at all) and he was the most difficult to read.
I recall that he was nervous but reading through the transcription that doesn’t show up at all. We talked a lot about Rings vs. Hobbit a lot here and that wouldn’t have been my choice. But there are no bad questions, it just feels slightly repetitive. However, after seeing “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” I do understand more clearly of what he was telling us. He was forthright and open.
It is worth a mention that Bloom is a physical actor who mixes it up with stuntees and action full bore. He doesn’t hold back.
If memory serves he was in at least partial Legolas clothes with some green pants and his legs were restless.
Other Q&A interviews about “The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies,” include:
ORLANDO BLOOM: Apologies for munching an apple.
MEDIA: That’s all right.
ORLANDO BLOOM: So, yeah, how’s everyone doing?
ORLANDO BLOOM: How long have you been here?
MEDIA: Yesterday. We got in yesterday.
ORLANDO BLOOM: How long for?
MEDIA: Saturday morning.
ORLANDO BLOOM: All from the States?
MEDIA: No. I’m from Sydney.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Sydney?
ORLANDO BLOOM: States. LA.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Austin?
MEDIA: The One Ring. States.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Oh, yeah.
MEDIA: He exists entirely online.
MEDIA: The district of One Ring.
ORLANDO BLOOM: How is The One Ring?
MEDIA: Honestly, now we’re good. We’re still broke from our last party, actually. But otherwise we’re good.
MEDIA: So, now we’re seeing you out of the full hair and makeup and whatever. How does the process compare this time around, just in terms of duration and ease and whatever, to the first three movies?
ORLANDO BLOOM: To get made up?
MEDIA: Yeah. Have they refined the process so that it’s a breeze now?
ORLANDO BLOOM: It’s about the same for me. I think they simplified it for the hobbit, for Martin, because they came up with those boot ideas which– Actually, I think that was– A great idea by Viggo’s old makeup artist, somebody was telling me actually, funny enough. He came up with the idea for having the feet be boots.
Can you imagine how much time that would have saved? Because on Rings, they had the joint there and it was so visible that they had to– So, yeah, I think it’s– But for me, I just have my ears, and they just pop on and they seal them down in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
MEDIA: It takes that long just to do the ears?
ORLANDO BLOOM: Ears, wig, makeup, yeah.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
With “The Hobbit” movies before our eyes, either from home or at the movies, here is a fascinating look back at Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings,” films. This clever edit of the films might have been what King Theoden was yelling “Death! Death! Death!” about from his horse because this version features all the on-screening killing from the whole trilogy – extended edition.
It might bring differences between the two trilogies to mind, or it might not, but whatever it is, the folks at Digg have done themselves proud. ENJOY!
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit
The folks at IMAX really want you to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” in that format. Most fans are aware that there are a number of choices of how and where and in what format to see the film and some will try it several ways. We were given this exclusive featurette to share that features Peter Jackson, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and Lee Pace singing the praises of the IMAX format with with scenes from the epic battle movie.
I am not aware of any of our staff viewing the film in IMAX format but we do know from first-hand experience that there are a whole lot of large-screen battle mayhem moments going on that range from deadly serious to funny. Certainly the IMAX experience would be something I would look forward to. Anyway, below is the video, which promotes the format via its stars and director and shows a lot of action clips and the hero closeups that are both Peter Jackson trademarks.
Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Courtesy of Ron Hall
HOLLYWOOD — Sir Peter Jackson received his star Monday on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, joining 2,500 others so honored from film, music, television and radio. The honor is another in the long list for the director who made it big by launching his career from Wellington, New Zealand.
Here is some media coverage of the day, starting with The New Zealand Herald who said:
“Peter Jackson has received his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – and he’s scored some prime real estate.
Stars from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies watched on as Jackson received his star on Hollywood Boulevard, just days before the final film in his Hobbit trilogy premieres in New Zealand.”
Read more with video: HERE
Stuff.co.nz said, (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Director news, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — TheOneRing.net visited the set for a brief time during the final segment of filming, nearly entirely focused on the third film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” On the day of this interview Peter Jackson was putting his characters through a highly emotional scene toward the end of the film when one or more characters was in grave peril, perhaps the gravest of peril. In fact, the scene puts the grave in grave peril.
But the production wasn’t filming the action sequence. The camera was on the other half of the scene so instead the camera was focused on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins watching the grave peril unfold. Freeman’s face and voice spoke volumes about what Bilbo was experiencing. As of press time, I haven’t seen the film so perhaps those who have will know what we watched or perhaps it didn’t make the final cut. Either way, it was an acting lesson from a genuine professional.
The year previous I spent extensive time on set and for a myriad of reasons Freeman was the sole interview of the main cast that I failed to get so I was pleased to finally be able to sit down on set, in a tent on a sound stage and interview the guy who played the title character. There were perhaps five other reporters as well. If any of the following questions from the Q&A are bad, please blame them. A foot massage* for those who can spot the questions for TheOneRing.net (hint, it wasn’t the ones about the ring or feet.) A personal observation is that Freeman is often a thoughtful interview who doesn’t deliver canned answers but I find his words here to be particularly engaging. Sadly, the interview, while reasonable in length left us wishing for more. (more…)
Posted in Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Martin Freeman, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The winners of last month’s Hobbit Fan Contest that got to go to New Zealand and watch an in-progress cut of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and experience the beautiful scenes of the north and south islands and the hospitality of Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, won their spots by producing short films.
As reports from the experience suggest, there was a great bonding of the 75 winners and their guests during the week-long tour of Middle-earth. These bonds are on display in a “thank you” video that the group organized to give to Peter Jackson and all the many folks who helped make the trip amazing. There is even a nod to TheOneRing.net which honestly touches us.
Turns out that crew can make a pretty great video with parts from all around the world. Their sincerity and appreciation really comes through and will make all fans proud. Enjoy! #HobbitFanContest
Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Locations Sets, Mark Hadlow, Meet Ups, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor, Stephen Hunter, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Warner Bros., Wellington, WETA Cave, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop
One of our spies deep inside the film gave us this, very non-secret heads up:
“In a partnership between two franchises with strong ties to Wellington, New Zealand, December 13 will see the Wellington Phoenix take the field in a special one-off jersey.
The jersey, specially designed with the Wellington Phoenix and the team behind The Hobbit Trilogy, commemorates the opening of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies in cinemas December 11th. The custom, film-themed jersey will only be played in once to recognise the exclusive nature of the partnership.
You can read the rest of the article to find out about the game and jersey if you click right here!
Posted in Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
For the previous Hobbit films TheOneRing.net attended press conferences and brought you coverage the best we could. For the last film “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” we delivered this transcript. Oh but now, here it all is on video!
Posted in Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Ian McKellen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lee Pace, LotR Movies, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Media Reviews, Orlando Bloom, Premieres, Press Conferences, Richard Armitage, Ryan Gage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
Lots of emails come daily telling us about these clips, and they are great, but I think they are intended to seem awesome for people who might not be that interested in the movie, and that isn’t many (any?) of our readers. But here they are, more clips from “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” marketing machine. We know they aren’t new to many, but just in case you missed any or need them all in once place, here you go:
OUT OF TIME
WE FIND SHELTER
ATTACK THE CITY
I’M NOT ALONE
Hey, there is also a featurette that is a commercial for the film in IMAX but it has a bunch of moments from the London green carpet and while you can get trailers and TV spots at the movies and on TV, this here is the internet. As part of the vast internet community, here it is:
Posted in Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The final film from Middle-earth is out and making impressions world-wide but for the vast majority of fans, the wait is still ongoing. To tide us over and to whet our appetites, here is a clip of Thranduil, Gandalf and the title character, the Hobbit.
That is a different character entirely from the one who faints in his own home in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Enjoy your journey as we count down the days to the film hitting wide release. Thanks to spy theElf19101730 for the heads up.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lee Pace, Martin Freeman, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien
MIRAMAR, NEW ZEALAND — In the final few weeks of filming for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” a handful of journalists visited Peter Jackson’s set at Stone Street Studios near Wellington, New Zealand to do a final round of interviews during filming.
The invitation included TheOneRing.net. The pack of journos were given a lot of interviews in a short amount of time with the agreement with Warner Bros. to hold them until just before the final film. The veil is lifted and here is the interview, with minimal commentary. (Assume the less good questions aren’t from TORn!)
We met in the mess hall, empty except for us on a windy day. Pace is even more handsome in person than expected, dressed casually but smartly and he gave very thoughtful answers — as you will read — and appeared to be thinking while he spoke. In fact, at the time the interview seemed extraordinary, especially as he talked about his character. Some of these phrases could be engraved and hung somewhere. Reading through it more than a year later, I hope fans enjoy it as much as I do.
We were fresh from Weta Workshop, Academy Award winner Richard Taylor as well as interviewing Academy Award winner Dan Hennah and having a tour of the offices of the Art Department where we saw concept art and models and props of all kinds.
Here is the conversation: (more…)
Posted in Cate Blanchett, Dan Hennah, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Lee Pace, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug