Message board member Arwen’s daughter recently posted: The July 2008 issue of Geek Monthly (which isn’t up on their website yet) has a big Hellboy II special, and includes an interview with GdT. And, like any good geek, they thought to ask him about The Hobbit. Here are the Hobbit specific portions, but the full interview has a lot of great insight into his filmmaking.
Geek Monthly: Speaking of magic, now that you’re doing the two Hobbit films, what’s the appeal of that property?
GDT: When I was a kid, I bought The Hobbit and I bought Lord of the Rings at the same time. I used my hard-earned allowance, and I was about 11.
And I tried to get into Lord of the Rings, because that’s what my friend recommened, but I couldn’t get into it. Now I’ve read them completely. But The Hobbit grabbed me. It really did. I identified with Bilbo; it spoke to me about how the world is out there, and how Bilbo led this cloistered existence. How he was dragged from being a prissy little guy into this fabulous adventure with an amazing band of dwarfs into discovering life and death.
The novel starts very innocently, and it ends—I wouldn’t say tragically—but it ends on a very bittersweet note. Sort of the experience of England in World War I, and the story of losing your innocence but gaining manhood—meaning, adulthood. It’s really a fascinating look into that. And it’s the only one by Tolkien that has such a facile and engaging personality. It’s incredibly easy to like. Even the way he opens, which is incredibly simple, like fairy tales are—fairy tales always state, there was a kingdom and living in it was a good boy—and this is the only one of his that has that charm, that immediate hook. And I think that if I had to single out what attracts me to it, it would be Smaug and the spiders. Those are two things that I think will be the two greatest experiences in my life.
Geek Monthly: Despite the fact that you’ve accomplished so much as a filmmaker, is there any trepidation at all on your part following what Peter Jackson acieved with the Lord of the Rings trilogy?
GDT: Not at all. I think what we’re doing is we are creating a beautiful overture to a symphony. The way I see it, an overture has a different personality but tonally belongs to the symphony. So my idea is, if The Hobbit takes place half a centurey before the events of Middle Earth that are exposed in the Fellowship, then I am allowed to start with certain, how would you say, givens. We already know who Gandalf is, we already know what Gollum looks like, we are going to be respectful of every single thing that is established.
But within that paradigm, it will be a movie of mine, and a movie I enjoy making, and I’m not going to be thinking all the time. I’m going to be carefully planning, and I’m doing it out of love. If it was a universe I didn’t feel comfortable with, I would have rejected it, like I have rejected many a lucrative franchise in the past. I have no problem doing that. I’m into it because I love the world he created. And it is my hope that you will start on The Hobbit, and it will be perhaps a more golden time in the Shire, and then as the two Hobbit movies evolve, you will see them fully, seamlessly, going into The Fellowship of the Ring.
Be sure to look for the latest Geek Monthly issue on newsstands and/or check out Geek Monthly’s website for availablity of the entire interview.