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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.

Royd Tolkien Holds ALS Fundraiser: Advance Screening of BOTFA Wows In Wales

Studio_20141207_154915Tonight in the heart of Wales a very special event happened that brought together the family scions of Tolkien while also raising money for ALS; which by way of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge became one of the notable internet phenomena of 2014.  Motor Neurone Disease touches closely on the family, as Royd Tolkien’s brother Mike struggles with its effects.  (more…)

Posted in Events, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Family, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.

Hobbit Fan Contest winners make ‘thank you’ video for Peter Jackson and New Zealand

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

Update: Variety, Empire and now Hollywood Reporter review ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’

BilboBOTFAPosterIt’s that time of the year again…

Following the World Premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, reviews have begun pouring in – and here we have two from Variety and Empire. (more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Freeman, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Premieres, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

Music Video for Billy Boyd’s “The Last Goodbye” in High Definition

BillbyBoydTheLastGoodbyeEarlier today, the music video for “The Last Goodbye”, the end credits song for the last chapter in The Hobbit Trilogy, premiered exclusively on EW.com.

As much a farewell to Peter Jackson’s entire Middle-earth filmography as the Hobbit films themselves, the video features our beloved Mr. Boyd singing his wonderful tune to images of the entire saga.

Including footage ranging from the incredibly familiar to the previously unseen, the music video is a beautiful reminder of the journey we’ve all been on and a celebration of everything the cast and crews from both trilogies have accomplished. (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Movies, MGM, Miscellaneous, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Music, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

Play Warner Bros. free Hobbit game: “Orc Attack”

This is pretty fun! Choose from Bard, Tauriel or Legolas, then go hunting orcs and wargs with your bow and arrow. You’ve got to be accurate though — you have only a limited number of arrows to take down your opponents. And they shoot back (the wargs will bite at you), so you have to be quick! (more…)

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Studios, The Hobbit, Warner Bros.

Third TV spot for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies!

bilbo-gandalf They’re coming thick and fast now. Following hot on the first TV spot for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies , Warner Bros. has now released the third.

They’re calling it King.

And, yep, it focuses completely around Thorin and features some new scenes. The key one is probably the opening, an exchange between Bilbo and Gandalf somewhere in what seems to be the ruins of Dale:

Bilbo: I’m not afraid of Thorin.
Gandalf: Well, you should be.

(more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

Second TV spot for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

bard_tower_lake-town Following hot on the first TV spot for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies just a couple of days ago, Warner Bros. has now released the second.

Like its predecessor it runs 30 seconds, and features much footage that already appeared in the trailers. The key talking point is probably at 0.08 seconds, where we see Bard atop a belltower in Lake-town as it burns, nocking an arrow to his bow.

Is this the same tower where, in the main trailer, we see him collapsed to the floorboards staring upwards into the night? Is this the fatal shot? Hard to guess right now…

(more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

First ‘Battle of the Five Armies’ TV Spot

Bilbo sting
“And…here….we….go.”

Following on the heels of last week’s release of the final Theatrical Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Brothers has released the very first TV Spot for the final installment. Much of the footage has been featured in the previous trailers, but there are a few new bits of dialogue (notably including a new line from Balin) as well as some additional shots not seen before. (more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ Soundtrack up for pre-order on iTunes US Store with 90 second samples!

BOFA Standard OST Cover Art30 seconds not enough for you? Perfectly understandable. So for those of you who want just little bit more of a taste of Howard Shore’s final score in the Middle-earth Saga, iTunes has granted your wish.

The Special Edition Album of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is now up for pre-order in the iTunes US store, and along with that pre-order come 90-second samples for each track. This provides a much clearer idea of what to expect from this score – and if you ask me, the word you’re looking for is BIG. Or EPIC. Or GARGANTUAN… (you get the idea). (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, Music, New Line Cinema, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Warner Bros.

‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ Soundtrack Samples!

OrchestraAmazon UK has put up some fantastic samples from the Special Edition Album of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (as well as supplied us with an updated track list).

Click on the soundtrack cover below to get your first listen to Howard Shore’s magnificent score, as well as Billy Boyd’s poignant “The Last Goodbye”. (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, Music, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Warner Bros.

‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ Soundtrack Album track list revealed!

OrchestraThanks to Amazon’s France website, we now have the track list for Howard Shore’s score for the third and final Hobbit film The Battle of the Five Armies. We don’t yet know which of the tracks will be extended on the Special Edition Album, but there are definitely two bonus tracks at the end of disc two, as well as some reordering of the final tracks. (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, MGM, Miscellaneous, Music, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, soundtrack, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Tolkien, Warner Bros.