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.
The following comes to us courtesy of TheHutt, chief editor of Henneth-Annun.ru.
After Warner Brothers finally released the Extended Edition of The
Posted in Alan Lee, Blu-Ray, Creations, DVDs, Fans, Hobbit Movie, John Howe, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Tolkien
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD and Blu-ray, several reviewers pointed out one unfortunate thing about the release. Although it was obvious that Warner Brothers made some effort as far as the packaging
of the Extended Edition was concerned, there was a total absence of a booklet of any kind. That was rather annoying, as the stylish booklets included with The Lord of the Rings Special Extended Editions were just the cherry on the top – not only did they feature some nice sketches by Alan Lee and John Howe, but also provided useful information: the chapter list (along with new/extended chapter markings), as well as a navigation path through the intricate bonus menu system. (more…)
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
Middle-earth Envisioned by Brian J Robb and Paul Simpson.
Over the decades, lots and lots of people have tried their hand at envisioning Middle-earth — in artwork, stage plays, musicals, television adaptations, comics, games, fan-art and, of course, animated and live action film.
Middle-earth Envisioned is a new, illustrated book From New York Times bestselling author Brian J. Robb and Paul Simpson, TV guide writer/reporter and the former editor of the Star Trek magazine, that comprehensively documents these portrayals of Middle-earth.
Among the highlights is previously unprinted artwork from English schoolteacher Mary Fairbairn. It has been noted that Tolkien himself wrote to Fairburn in 1968, praising her illustrations as “splendid. They are better pictures in themselves and also show far more attention to the text than any that have yet been submitted to me”. (more…)
Posted in Alan Lee, Books Publications, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, John Howe, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Silmarillion, The Hobbit
Via The Eagles of Manwe, which see all from afar, we are able to bring you this description of the face of Beorn. Our highly reputable source accidentally caught our favourite shape-shifter on location during principal photography in late 2011 at the Beorn’s Hall set near Paradise in Glenorchy.
With the usual spoiler warning, here’s the description: (more…)
Posted in Alan Lee, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, John Howe, Mikael Persbrandt, Peter Jackson, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit
Last weekend, The Hall of Fire examined what’s undoubtedly the movie topic of the moment — the character and appearance of Beorn. Lots of thoughtful opinions from all sides, and some interesting analysis of the mythic roots of Tolkien’s shapeshifter as well as of Alan Lee, John Howe and Ted Nasmith’s classic illustrations. Plenty of spoilers, too! For those who couldn’t attend, here’s a log.
Also, this weekend (Saturday August 24 at 6pm EDT (New York time)) we’ll be returning to our Lord of the Rings book chats. This week we begin the first chapter of book four — The Taming of Smeagol — so be sure to join us for this exciting topic! (more…)
Posted in Alan Lee, Barlimans, Characters, Green Books, Hall of Fire, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Howe, Locations Sets, Mikael Persbrandt, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
Beorn. A portrait by John Howe.
The reader reaction to the low-resolution image of Beorn from the SD Toys 2014 Hobbit Calendar
has been swift, visceral and fascinating.
Fact is that, while noting that people often tend to automatically respond negatively to change then rapidly adapt, the reader response has been largely unfavourable. Overall, people don’t seem to like Beorn.
It’s a reaction seemingly propelled by the crazy mane of hair that sweeps over Beorn’s head like a mohawk, and stretches down his back like a long, rangy mullet.
It’s prompted a wide-ranging variety of negative comparisons to Sonic the Hedgehog, Blanka, Joe Dirt, ’80s hair metal bands, David Bowie in Labyrinth and Beast from Beauty and the Beast. (more…)
Posted in Alan Lee, Fans, Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, John Howe, Mikael Persbrandt, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug