Many people wouldn’t recognize Andy Serkis if they met him in person, yet they’re sure to remember many of the characters he’s portrayed onscreen, via the assistance of performance-capture technology.
Be it the raspy voiced bag of skin and bones that is Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the eponymous building-sized “monster” from King Kong, the genetically-altered chimp Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes – or, most recently, the burly alcoholic Captain Haddock from The Adventures of Tintin, Serkis has served as the heart and soul of many a memorable digitally-rendered character. Hence, the previous studio-backed pushes for him to receive an Oscar nod for his work in both the Rings trilogy and the Apes franchise reboot/prequel.
Despite the especially-massive push for Serkis to receive recognition for his performance as Caesar, the actor’s name was absent from the list of official 84th Academy Award nominations announced earlier this morning (at the time of writing this). Arguably, part of the reason behind both the Serkis snub and Tintin‘s being denied a Best Animated Feature nod is because many an Academy member is said to be wary of the mo-cap approach to character creation. More..
For a good long while, there has been talk of a feature film based on Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest comics, which they’ve self-published since the ’70s. Warner Bros announced it was making one back in 2008. Four years later, it’s deader than Denethor. And you can blame Peter Jackson.
Well, sort of. See, Warner Bros. feels that three films with elves is one too many and, with the sure-to-be-a-massive-hit-twofer The Hobbit coming this December, they pulled the plug on Elfquest. Or, at least, that’s how Wendy Pini put it on the official Elfquest Facebook page:
“After close to four years of suspense—and longer than four years of your much-appreciated interest and support—the word has come down from Warner Bros. And the word is ‘no.’ Their simple explanation is that they don’t want to compete with The Hobbit. This was a possibility, among several, that we were prepared for. It is a relief, at last, to know.”
Why did Bloomsbury U.K. eventually decide to offer “Harry Potter” books in disguised covers? Because people were ashamed to be seen reading about witches and wizards on the train. Fantasy had been made into a guilty pleasure, like pornography. It was immature, juvenile, escapist. As for all those Tolkien fans who liked to dress up as elves and orcs, the only explanation, spluttered Edmund Wilson in 1956, was that “Certain people . . . have a lifelong appetite for juvenile trash.” This, Michael Saler remarks, “from a man who liked to be called ‘Bunny.’ ”
In “As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality,” a historical and cultural study of fiction fandom, Mr. Saler counterpunches vigorously against the whole edifice of literary snobbery. What he has to say is so self-evidently right that the fact he has to say it makes one wonder how the critical profession has managed, for so long, to cultivate such a large blind spot. His book should be essential reading in every graduate school of the humanities. But it’s much more fun than that recommendation suggests. More..
Texts from J.R.R. Tolkien and George Orwell have been removed from the public domain in the United States, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling this week.
On Wednesday, The Supreme Court upheld a 1994 law which gives copyright protection to body of foreign works that had previously been available for free in the public domain.
Google hoped that the high court would overturn the law. The Wall Street Journal has more: “Google Inc. was the leading company challenging the law, in an echo of the separate battle in Washington over an Internet piracy bill that pits Google against movie studios. The search company, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, said in court papers that the restored copyrights could affect more than a million books it has scanned through its Google Books Library Project.” More..
PARK CITY, Utah — The first trailer for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” made it quite clear that Middle-earth hasn’t changed much in the years since Peter Jackson concluded his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. That’s not a complaint, mind you — fans have come to know and love Jackson’s interpretation of the J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy epic with the same passion they have for the source material. When it comes to “The Hobbit,” in other words, change is not necessarily welcome.
Speaking with MTV News at the Sundance Film Festival, Jackson explained that it was always his intention to keep “The Hobbit” tonally and visually consistent with the “Lord of the Rings” films.
An international co-operation between the German and Dutch Tolkien Societies (DTG & Unquendor) has started 3 January 2012.
On the occasion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 120th birthday, members of both Societies, met for a joint dinner. The celebration marked the start of a whole host of share events taking place in the Hobbit Year 2012.
The year will be dominated by the Hobbit: the 75-year anniversary of the children’s book’s first publication date will receive even more publicity through the release of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” film at the end of the year. The literary societies will accompany this exciting year with a whole host of exceptional events. (more…)
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson, on behalf of the Government today congratulated Sir Peter Jackson on the Golden Globe awarded for the film ‘Tintin’, which Sir Peter produced. “The award for ‘Tintin’ as best animated feature is another well-deserved milestone in Sir Peter’s already illustrious career,” Mr Finlayson said. “The film’s state of the art animation produced another wonderful and distinctive fantasy world, and also served as a reminder of the immense contribution he continues to make to the art of motion pictures.” More..
Our pal Gunnar sends this along: Take a look at this story for German TV, coverage of The Hobbit starts around 22:10. It’s about Film NZ, Park Road Post, Hobbit, Avengers (Special fx by Weta) and Sam Neill (The Hunter), thought you might enjoy it. Some of the grabs are in English.
Elpidha sends along these scans from the December issue of Studio Cine Live, out on newsstands today! (in French markets). Elpidha writes: The French magazine Studio Cine Live, December 2011 issue, has a beautiful spread about the upcoming Hobbit films. I’m not sure if any of the information or images are new, but there are some quotes from the actors that might be. (more…)
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