Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen started filming the last block for ‘The Hobbit’ Monday, May 20 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Peter Jackson updated his personal Facebook page today to let fans know that filming for “The Hobbit,” has begun. He called the block of filming, “Our last ever Tolkien pick ups,” He also promises a new video blog soon although that could mean a day, a week or a month.
Stuff.co.nz tracks the production carefully for its New Zealand (and worldwide audience) and they recently posted a story explaining that Monday, May 20 would be the first day of shooting. They were even kind enough to cite TheOneRing.net as a source. The story also updates with info from social media channels including Luke Evans and Adam Brown. TheOneRing.net did a five-week stint on the set for reporting on the second film. We will release them, to use a Jackson declaration, soon.
It was an interesting journey the filmmaker and Hobbit actor Jed Brophy took us on in one hour, we where guided along the stages and rooms of Park Road Post in Miramar, Wellington, to where we finally ended up in Peter Jackson’s’ home away from home the editing room in his traditional bare feet.
Jed was a great host along side Peter Jackson who explained certain things on the way to the editing room, we saw snippets of work in progress, Azog and an Orc in motion capture, some Pre-Viz of Smaug the Dragon, of whom we only saw snippets of in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is akin to the unfinished Gollum in his first but brief appearance in Fellowship of The Ring, before he was fully realized as a digital character in the Two Towers, he was a mere shadow of himself you could say..
To celebrate the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Australia on May 1st, Popcorn Taxi had a special showing of the film with a Q&A session with Richard Armitage. RingerSpy and long time message board member, Deleece Cook aka Elven, was lucky enough to attend and sent us the following report on the night.
Yesterday afternoon Richard Armitage was interviewed by 2DayFM on the Dan and Maz show. They discuss how big a Hobbit fan Dan is, The Hobbit movie and then play a game of “Ikea Furniture or Lord of the Rings Character”. The podcast is in two parts and can be listened to here or you can download the podcast here.
2-disc DVD edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
After dominating home video sales (which isn’t video at all anymore but remains the common term) the week of its release, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is back on top of the sales leader board in its fourth week in release. Its opening release pitted it against strong Oscar-winning competition, “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” but its sales outpaced those title by more than a 3-1 ratio each. (TORn doesn’t have an official opinion of either film but this writer recommends both) And a month later after losing the top spot to “The Bible,” around the Easter holiday, Peter Jackson’s film is back on top.
Despite mostly positive but mixed reviews and media reports of mediocre box office (which proved to be incorrect after its $302 million run in the U.S. and its more than $1 billion world-wide) the film is also impressive with its home-use sales figures. Warner Bros. promoted the initial sales with an exclusive look at this December’s “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug,” but that has come and gone while sales remain strong. We don’t mean to cheerlead for the film’s financial outcome and nobody from the studio is sending TheOneRing.net money, but some bad buzz lingers despite the film being embraced culturally and financially by viewers and it seems perception might not quite match reality. It will be fascinating to see if 48 fps, 3D and the decision to tell the book’s story over three films will remain a topic of media focus or if the film’s success and its impressive cast will shift into the spotlight.
There are yet more ways to buy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” including downloading it. In what is called the Xbox SmartGlass Exclusive, thanks to spy TheSilentSon we have a feature to share showcasing Thorin (Richard Armitage), Fili (Dean O’Gorman) and Kili (Aiden Turner) that talks about the relationship of the three in the subtext of the film. This is clearly behind-the-scenes content from the same people who are bringing us production diaries from Pellerin Multimedia. It spells out the Dwarven lineage as written by J.R.R. Tolkien and has some great making-of shots as well as snippets of interviews. And, if you haven’t put it together yet, these are likely the hottest of the hot dwarves. While the Xbox stuff obviously is tied in with HBO (I see you John Snow) and a commercial push, it isn’t completely clear how viewers could download the film. Feel free to alert Microsoft to send us further info (and, as an Xbox owner, I just might give it a whirl and report back.) In the meantime, fans will really enjoy all three minutes and six seconds of this feature.
TORn staffer Saystine found us another great interview video from Yahoo! Movies UK in which Hobbit cast members Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis discuss how the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, will differ from An Unexpected Journey.
“It will get more dangerous and dark as Bilbo gets further away from home and in more jeopardy,” says Andy Serkis, who, in addition to playing Gollum in the films, is Second Unit Director on the trilogy.
Will we enjoy the departure from the more lighthearted nature of Unexpected Journey? Well Richard Armitage will, at least. He says, “Obviously I favor the dark.”
Observant Net watchers from the Tolkien Forever group in Los Angeles spotted these two new videos this week in which cast members, including Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis, weigh in on the dragon we’re all waiting for and on the decision to make three ‘Hobbit’ films.
In the first video from IGN, cast members discuss what they know (or don’t) about the mysterious Smaug, and what we can expect to see of the dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Richard Armitage (Thorin) says, “I haven’t seen the dragon, and I begged them to show me the dragon!” And James Nesbitt (Bofur) tantalizes us, saying, “I think it will blow people away… I think it will be an important and exciting cinematic moment.”
In the second video from Yahoo! Movies, cast members address the questions why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is quite long, and why there was a need for three full films to tell the full Hobbit story. Andy Serkis (Gollum) sums it up by saying, “Pete likes to make long films.” But Richard Armitage assures us that, “come the Battle of the Five Armies, you’re going to be glad you took the time in Bag End.”
Back in the First Age of TheOneRing.net when the interwebs were new and fansites were breaking ground on the way movies were covered, TORn used to consistantly swamp media or website polls that featured any “Lord of the Rings” characters. We would vote for J.R.R. Tolkien as the Author of the Century or something and chat about “what if Sean Connery is cast as Gandalf.” It was fun for a while but it actually got a little tiresome and the practice slowly faded away. There just wasn’t a need for Tolkien fandom to validate its place in the pantheon of fantasy or entertainment or popular culture. It was a nice memory or footnote in our online community’s culture.
Then, a couple of days ago, our staffer Justin, with the least Tolkien TORn handle of them all, started to hit the MTV movie awards category for “best hero,” by promoting the Twitter hashtag #votebilbo. He used our Twitter feed (@TheOneRingNet) to push the tag that tallies a vote for Bilbo as the best hero of 2012 every time somebody uses it on Twitter. Truthfully, I thought it was harmless but pretty useless (sorry Justin!) and a bit silly (sorry everybody!). Why take up the cause for fictional characters to fight it out in a meaningless contest that really only helps MTV? We have our own Middle-earth Madness for that kind of fun already. Plus, Snow White was leading the way and either kids liked that movie a whole lot more than the boxoffice showed or the votes were coming because “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart played the title role. She is big with the MTV market and any attempt to catch her would be futile. But, the community pushed Bilbo past Batman. About then, I gave Justin and his movement a second thought and support.
Joining in the Twitter voice, we redoubled our efforts and next thing you know, Iron Man was in the rear view mirror as well and Bilbo was in second place. A funny thing happened during the process: It became really fun on Twitter to #VoteBilbo! It is now something of a social media game to find clever ways to #VoteBilbo and we at TORn were able to re-tweet some of the better ideas, helping it all go viral. The group experience of the “old days” was back but in a much more interactive way. Fun with the community! Then, the hashtag started to trend in the UK and today in US as well. It has grown well beyond @TheOneRingNet and not long ago now the official Hobbit twitter account @TheHobbitMovie joined the cause. They promote the effort with dignity and restraint, something fans are not compelled to do.
So there are a lot of funny #vote Bilbo tweets out there now, a few shared in this story. It became a thing. Staffer personal twitter accounts like @SlaveBoyFilms, @MrLDC, @Quickbeam2000, @maegwen, @CruisingCathy and probably lots of others I haven’t seen (add them in the story staffers!), have joined the cause. And fellow fans have been funny and brilliant. At one point, #votebilbo took the lead but Stewart has stormed back. Its hard to imagine a Tolkien fanbase, less rooted in Twitter, having the numbers and frankly the passion to carry this to a win when voting ends April 14. I don’t know if we care enough, but it still is fun! As this is being written, less than 100 votes separate the two figures with over 40 thousand tweets cast. But, hey, this is kind of fun! Being clever and supporting a fictional character is pretty good entertainment. And, we have renamed the other character Snow WhiteTreeOfGondor since she carries a LOTR shield in her MTV photo.
Rumor has it that retweets don’t count unless the new tweet is a quote that includes a new one. And, only one tag per Tweet is counted. We don’t really know the rules exactly, but consider this a call to arms. Tweeters have been asking for help from the Sherlock crowd, Potter fans, Game of Thrones viewers (George R.R. Martin praises Tolkien at every opportunity) and anybody else they can think of really. In the meantime, be entertained and remember: #VoteBilbo! If you haven’t joined Twitter, you can follow TORn and its staff members for starters, where we usually tease our best content and even break news. We will Tweet live from the convention circuit including the Comic-Con in San Diego.
Rather comic version of Smaug on a computer screen (psych)
the T-Rex with wings look a bit like Pete’s Dragon
Rivendell library is rather cool looking, even if never used
Jed loves Goldfinger
And then we enter the Editing room with Jabez Olssen
One Million years B.C was the poster over PJ’s bed as a kid
Now to see editing happening
Bard is taking the Dwarves and their barrels across the river, in a boat.
Bilbo – I should never come along, we have a saying in the Shire “never venture east”.
He seems rather miserable
“I should never have left Bagend. We have a saying in the Shire, we learn it from birth, Never Venture East.”
Peter and Jed agree that Aidan is one of the Hot Dwarves (Lisa)
Jed looks very waterlogged
We get the final cut – and it’s Bard saying “So Master Hobbit, why did you venture East?”
Yeah Luke, sends a little message to say hello to the fans. The One Ringer, that’s us!
Jed teases that Bard is out of the film but Peter says that Bard is one of the cool things about the next film
Here come the video questions.
Chris asks about problems with a middle film?
PJ answers – middle films are complicated, but with multiple story lines different character arcs and plot lines take over.
Thranduil on his throne, awesome.
elf troop, with Legolas and Tauriel, fighting orcs
Laketown and the Master looking smarmy, and his manservant looks a bit like Grima.
Stephen Fry says he’s taking over from Orlando as the most desirable man in the films
Stephen sends a video, and mentions that England is decimating NZ in Cricket
Chinese girls ask questions about Legolas and Orlando and why he was cast and whether or not he’s similar to his Elf
Orlando sends a video to ask PJ a question – he wants to know what image he is most excited to see onscreen.
PJ says fans are most excited to see Smaug and Bilbo together and so is he.
Stephen’s video has been running in the background because he’s so wordy, but he says he has no idea if he’s in the last film
Marina in Canada – asks about new characters
PJ answers – Thranduil, Bard (part of the family now), They’ve made Bard like Robin Hood, is he good or bad. And of course, Tauriel is new, a new creation. Yay for her costume, finally getting to really see it.
Tauriel wears a leather
Brazilian kids asking questions, call it LOTR and pronounce it as a word
The kids ask about PJ’s favorite weapons, theirs is Gimli’s and Gloin’s axe.
PJ loves Theoden’s sword, with the horse motifs.
And back to London and Stephen Fry’s video still running
PJ was punishing Stephen about his comments about the NZ Cricket team
Twitter question about how difficult it is to stay on track or schedule
They mention the Flood in Nelson as one thing that messed up shooting
Surprise question with from Stephen Colbert – asks about the Sindar Elves and the Avari elves? PJ says yes about the Elves
So PJ rags on Stephen Colbert about two different sizes of mugs on his show, and how the quality of the printing on the mugs is poor quality
Twitter question – does he edit barefoot? Yes, he can be barefoot.
Lee Pace, woohoo, looking rather fab, as usual. Lee is looking forward to seeing the animosity of Dwarves and Elves in his own halls.
Twitter question – would Jed like to inflict any dwarf torture on PJ?
Jed says maybe, but has to say no because he wants to continue to work with him.
Great story about the Dwarves on the spit, and how Mark Hadlow got sick and asked to take a break and no one heard him. Poor thing
Billy Boyd sends a video question – In FOTR, they went as far as the Misty Mountains, but he knows in The Hobbit they go further East. Billy wants to know about any new Wildlands.
PJ answers about Mirkwood, and shows artwork the darkness and foreboding nature of Mirkwood. Misty and mirky and hard to walk through, to be sure.
Evangeline sends a question – What will Thranduil’s realm be like?
PJ mentions that Green Screens is why she does not know what the realm looks like. The artwork shows a bridge over a raging river to a structure like Rivendell, but inside the forest. The realm looks like Rivendell and Lorien mixed together, but underground.
Dom Monaghan asks a question, he is holding the camera himself.
What is the best PJ rumor you’ve heard that is not true?
What are you happiest about in transferring book to film?
PJ answers about the craziest rumor – people asked him if he was going to move his family to a ship off the coast to avoid paying Taxes. He gets too seasick to do that.
Twitter question – will the Necromancer play a bigger part, and PJ says yes and nothing else.
Here comes a look at the movie, but the Trailer is not ready yet.
PJ says that Gandalf goes to see the tombs of the Witch-king
Gandalf in a cavern, showing a dark doorway that appears to be blown open from within. He then goes inside, and sees a bird flies out of broken stonework, and then sees Radagast. The Nine tombs were broken open from the inside.
The vlogs will be starting up again, even though this is very much like one.
Sequence of action from throughout the film concluding with ‘We are the Dwarves of Erebor, we have come to reclaim our homeland’
Ran for about 55 minutes
Remember, if you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” or just want to watch it over again, a modified version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website www.thehobbit.com/sneak. To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Also, be sure to stay tuned to TheOneRing.net for a detailed analysis. Coming soon!
Sharon Eberson from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed “Tolkien scholar” Janet Brennan Croft she is a consultant for the film-makers of the Hobbit movie trilogy.
Her job for “The Hobbit” filmmakers is to make sure that writers are not bringing in outside sources because the rights are for specific Tolkien works.
She said has made continuity suggestions as well. “They have fixed some of the things I have mentioned [in the first film], but I don’t know if it was because of what I noted,” she said. “They are changing things all the time; the film was different than the last script I saw.”
Talking to Shawn Adler from movieline.com, Weta Digital visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri talks about the use of 3D HFR in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He explains why it takes some getting used to, and why he feels it’s a big step forward for films, like the transition from black and white to color.
“If you grew up seeing films in black and white and suddenly start seeing films in color, some people are going to have the reaction ‘Wow, that’s great!’ and other people are going to have the reaction, ‘That’s not moviemaking! Films should be made in black and white! You’re losing the mystery of how to deal with tonality, you’re sacrificing that to deal with color!’” [Read more]
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