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Peter Jackson talks ‘Hobbit: BotFA’ and all Middle-earth with TheOneRing.net

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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.

Jackson7SETTING 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.

Peter JacksonHe 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.

Solid.

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.

Martin Freeman talks ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ with TheOneRing.net

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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

George R.R. Martin says Daenerys’ dragons wouldn’t beat Smaug

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES It’s the stuff that fuels never-ending internet arguments: would X beat Y?

In a long interview with 92 Y, George R.R. Martin revealed that a reader had asked him that exact question about Daenerys’ dragon, Drogon, versus Smaug. And, refreshingly, Martin conceded that Smaug would win… (more…)

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Update: New Bilbo image from final ‘Hobbit’ movie – now available full size

TORn Display 730W


A new image this morning from Warner Bros., this time first on TORn and featuring the character we sometimes remember the whole story is named after, Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit!

Of note with this new image, old Bilbo is a changed man from promotional material of movies past. He is battle tested and trusty Sting is positively dripping with oil fluid orc blood. He is gritty and grim and ready to stab the viewer, giving us a glimpse of what death-by-Hobbit looks like. It also flashes back a bit to Frodo from “The Lord of the Rings,” when he is threatening Gollum with the same weapon.

If you aren’t watching the calendar, we are now just over two months from the release of the final Middle-earth movie of the Peter Jackson era with Extended Editions, red carpet premieres and hoped-for trailers also on the horizon. It’s a good time to be a Tolkienite!

UPDATE: You can get a full size version by clicking the super big one below! Bilbo full size

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Movie, Martin Freeman, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Last Call, Baggins Birthday Bash in LA this Sunday

Baggins-Bday-cakeThis is just a final reminder that TORn’s big Baggins Birthday Bash will be kicking off on Sunday at noon in Griffith Park. Luckily, the triple digit heat we’ve been having for the past week has finally broken, so it will only by in the low 80’s on Sunday, woohoo. Come celebrate with your fellow Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Wizards as we salute our favorite Halfling Heroes, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. This is a Potluck, so bring some munchies and/or beverages of choice and get ready for one fine party to remember. We’ve set up an Event page on Facebook with all the details, such as maps, directions and a list of items being brought already. So check it out at Baggins Birthday Bash Please RSVP on either the Facebook Event page, listing what you are bringing, or send me an email at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net. Oh, and remember, there will be a special contest for creating the most creative and/or delicious Middle-earth themed Cake or Cupcakes, so bring it ON!

Posted in Baggins Birthday Bash, Characters, Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien

Jed Brophy takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with DragonCon’s Tolkien Track & TheOneRing.net

ATLANTA — Prompted by Hobbit actor John Bell, Jed Brophy took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while a guest at this year’s DragonCon in Atlanta. Jed was there as part of the “Tolkien’s Middle-earth” programming track and along with Craig Parker, Adam Brown, Manu Bennett and Billy Boyd, served as celebrity guest for the show.

As part of his efforts, he visited the swimming area at the Marriott Marquis and took the icy plunge to raise money and awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He also challenged Parker and Brown to accept the challenge.

Posted in Adam Brown, Billy Boyd, Characters, Conventions, Craig Parker, DragonCon, Events, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Jed Brophy, John Bell, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Manu Bennett, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

All things TORn at San Diego Comic Con 2014

sdcc-logoIt is now just a little over 2 weeks from the start of San Diego Comic Con International, the biggest and most talked about Scifi/Fantasy convention on the geek calendar. We at TheOneRing.net have been busily planning for an epic week of Hobbity goodness to share with all of you, attendee and stay-at-home fans alike. This is your handy dandy little guide to when and where you can find us throughout the convention.

This year we will only be at one location on the Exhibit Hall floor, sharing space at the WETA booth #3613. We won’t have a huge amount of room in this booth, but then that is because WETA is pulling out all the stops for the final Hobbit film and ‘Bringing It’. You will want to make Booth #3613 a ‘must see’ location, even your non-Tolkien fan friends will want to visit WETA. So stop by the booth, say hello to TORn and WETA folks alike, buy some stuff, have your camera ready and enjoy the geekiness of all things Hobbit.

The full SDCC panel schedule will officially be announced beginning this Thursday, but here is advance notice of when our panel will take place.

An Unofficial look at the final Middle-Earth Film “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Thursday, 7/24/14, 5:00p.m. – 6:00p.m., Room: Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront

The Hilton Bayfront is next to the Convention Center down near Hall H, and the Indigo Ballroom is probably the biggest room we have yet had at SDCC, so don’t be late and risk missing our sneak peek at the final film in the series.

Edited to Add 7/8/14:  Warner Bros. has announced their slate of films for SDCC and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies will be among them. Their panel will be at 10am on Saturday, July 26 in Hall H. Peter Jackson was confirmed to be attending, and will be joined by Director George Miller with Mad Max Fury Road. Also mentioned was Jupiter Ascending and there will be a sneak peek screening of Richard Armitage’s Into the Storm on Wednesday, July 23 at 10pm at the Reading Gaslamp Theater, but no word yet on how to snag tickets for that. 

Throughout the weekend TORn staffers will be tweeting, posting pics and videos to Facebook, posting stories here, live streaming, and giving you as much Hobbit news as we possibly can. This will include some of the new projects the actors are working on that are also at SDCC, such as “The Strain” with Sean Astin, “Legends” with Sean Bean and “Outlander” starring Graham McTavish. See the video below for a message from Graham regarding SDCC:

Graham McTavish has confirmed he will be at SDCC, so consider this your official invite to our Laketown Luau on Friday night, beginning at 7pm at the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. The SDCC website has finally posted the shuttle routes and we can now announce that the Kona Kai is on the Teal shuttle route. You can find the shuttle schedule here and remember to click on the PDF link at the bottom for the map of the hotels and route information. The Teal route is set to take about 30 minutes to get you between the convention center and the hotel, but if you have a car, the distance is only 6 miles away.  Lake-town Luau

You can only attend the Laketown Luau by purchasing a ticket at our Eventbrite page. With loads of games and a relaxed, outdoor environment, this will be a family friendly party, so bring the kids.

We will update this post or make a new one as soon as we have confirmation of what Warner Bros. might be doing for film previews, including “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” and whether PJ will put in an appearance. Same goes for confirmation on other film projects, such as Richard Armitage’s ‘Into the Storm” and Luke Evans’ “Dracula Untold”. We already know Outlander will have a premiere event during SDCC.

Posted in Characters, Comic Rumors, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Luke Evans, Meet Ups, Other Events, Richard Armitage, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Tolkien

5 reasons to attend the Lake-town Luau

Lake-town LuauFantasyCon is about to take over the airwaves here on TORn, but before it takes over completely, here is your friendly reminder about the Lake-town Luau taking place in San Diego during comic con. We are planning a number of fun and rather unique games for you all, giving everyone multiple chances to win prizes. So here are your 5 reasons to attend the Lake-town Luau.

1) Golfimbul – For the fans in LA who attend the Baggins’ Birthday Bash, you are all familiar with this game, and for those who aren’t local, you might recognize the name from the first chapter of The Hobbit. Anyhow, this game involves a baseball bat, a goblin head and some rabbits, and remember, there are NO SPECTATORS, ONLY PARTICIPANTS!!!

2) Pin the Black Arrow on the Dragon – This is a Middle-earth twist on an old game, come try your luck and see if you have what it takes to Be Like Bard.

3) Last Fan Standing – This is a trivia contest that creates pandemonium when played, especially when more than half the field is eliminated in the first question or two. Are you brave enough to try and be the Last Fan Standing?

4) Costume Contest – Speaks for itself, but you can enhance your chances for a prize if you can also quote a line or two of the character you are dressed as. This one is for the Hams out there.

5) Hobbit Hula Dancing – Well, we won’t turn down Dwarves, Elves or Orcs doing the Hula either. This event is pending until we find out if we can get an A/V system to play a little Hawaiian music.

So now that you know what is going on at the Lake-town Luau on Friday, July 25, get yourself your tickets, the prices go up after July 10.  Lake-town Luau ticketing page

Posted in Characters, ComicCon, Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

TORn Message Boards Weekly Roundup — June 22, 2014

Lord of the Ring Hobbit collageWelcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week.  If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Discussion Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights.  Or if you’re new to TORn and what to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions.   Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Discussion Boards.  Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join the fun!

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Posted in Characters, Creations, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Miscellaneous, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community

Debunking that Hobbit movie rumour about Thorin Oakenshield

Thorin_Oakenshield Many people have written to us over the last five or so days about a story that has begun circulating around the internet concerning Thorin Oakenshield and the final Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies.

Frankly, we hoped this story would die a quiet death because it is simply not credible. However, a couple of web media outlets have picked it up so somewhat reluctantly here we are quashing a rumour that simply has no credence at all.

Seeing as this is obviously leading us into spoiler territory, if you are avoiding them or have not read the book (I know there are a few of you out there), then look away now. (more…)

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Peter Jackson, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: There and Back Again

Cinefex’s Dragon Smackdown!

headOur friends over at Cinefex recently posted a blog: ‘Dragon Smackdown! Game of Thrones vs The Hobbit’. Inquiring minds want to know – just who would win in a battle between Smaug and Daenerys’ trio? Cinefex asked TORn what we think, so staffer greendragon sent along a few thoughts, to go with ideas from other ‘experts’ on the subject, such as Joe Bauer, Visual Effects Supervisor on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Read the blog post here, to see what the conclusion was. Would Smaug’s cunning be decisive, or would the brute force of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion wear him down? Let us know what you think, in the comments below!

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Richard Armitage chats with the German Tolkien Society

DoSThorin01 Chairman Tobias M. Eckrich of the German Tolkien Society (Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft) recently chatted with Richard Armitage about his time on the Hobbit set. What he says about the Erebor interior scenes in the confrontation with Smaug being shot inside nothing but a great green box is interesting — one wonders whether a theatre background helps with the adjustment to such an absence of visual cues.

Don’t forget to follow the link at the bottom for the complete interview. You can find the English transcript immediately below the German translation.

(more…)

Posted in Characters, Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Return of the King, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers