Larry Curtis did the honours from DragonCon for the installment of TORN’s bi-monthly radio show on ‘Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib’ – WNJC 1360 AM Philadelphia. Larry talks about the Hobbit Panels conducted by TORn, the fans, and the how he can now sleep at night knowing the Hobbit scripting has begun … and much more.
Transcript Fictional Frontiers TORn DragonCon segment 31st august 08.
Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib
Sunday 31st August (US) Monday 1st Sept (AUS) 08
Sohaib: Larry. Hello Larry? Did we lose Larry?
Larry: Hello, hello.
Sohaib: Hello Larry are you there?
Sohaib: I thought we’d lost you for a sec there. I guess you have to find a proper area to get a good signal down there in Atlanta, I know you told me you had to go outside between two building to get (laugh) a ..
Larry: Yeah, I’m kind of in a back alley trying to be where it quiet, and everything was quiet and then all of a sudden the moment of truth and there we go …
Sohaib: (laughs) well, be careful. Atlanta, it’s a nice city, and I know you’re there for DragonCon a couple of weeks ago but, refresh our listeners memories on what exactly DragonCon’s about and what’s been going on at the show.
Larry: Well, it’s easy to talk about because people down here are really into it, and I love this convention, its different than say, err ComicCon which is more corporate involved. This is really all about fans, and I think there’s lot of things to go to and lots of things to see, but the number one way to spend time here is to just walk around and look at people in costumes, I’m not exaggerating, that’s the number one attraction. People are just so into their fandom and they let it all hang out – its 24 hour – its 3 o’clock in the morning there’s plenty going on – fans – and all kinds of stuff – it really phenomenal.
Sohaib: Did you take a lot of pictures or where you really there as an observer this time?
Larry: Well, you can’t help but take photos of everywhere you go – there’s eye candy everywhere but that means whatever you think it means – all kinds of things to look at – but we were here, we were invited to present a panel about the Hobbit, and kind of speculate about that, and that’s kind of our purpose. But we’re also here just to see fans and get face time with people and you know, maybe recruit some new people.
Sohaib: And, talk a little about the 2 panels. Because I know you had one on Friday and one on Saturday dealing with the Hobbit films or again, how do .. I know I’ve been talking to other people about the Hobbit Project – How do you refer to the Hobbit films? Do you call them prequels or … I know I’m a big fan, I just curious because when I talk to laypeople I’m like; are the prequels or what – again , it’s the Hobbit, but its technically a prequel, but I don’t know how to refer to the second film in the series.
Larry: Well its, there plenty of terms thrown around for the Hobbit, we just call it The Hobbit Movie, we don’t call it anything like a prequel, but since there will be two films, and there’s only one Hobbit book, the first film will be all about the Hobbit. But the name for the second film is really kind of been a trick – we had called it the Bridge film for a while but because it would bridge our viewers from The Hobbit to the Lord of The Rings, but Guillermo del Toro said “No, it’s not really a Bridge Film, so don’t call it that”. So in our presentation, a kind of a fun thing for the fans, we just call it H2 or Hobbit 2, or we call it F2 for Film Two. Because we don’t know what to call it, it’s all in the mind of del Toro and Jackson at this point.
Sohaib: Sounds like a Cloverfield kind of scenario – let’s hope it doesn’t go with H2 as the title (laughs).
Larry: It’s good for now.
Sohaib: (laughs) definitely, definitely. Now, I know off the air we talked a little bit about the response to the panels, but evidently they were over flowing just like they were in SanDiego. Talk a little bit about what happened, specifically about the panels. What were the main topics of discussion and interest among the fans.
Larry: Well, its kind of an interesting thing, err, scheduling wise, there’s so much going on here. We were Friday, we were scheduled against Sean Astin panel, he’s here and he was talking not about anything Lord Of The Rings related, but still that – we thought well that’s going to hurt our audience, but plenty of people wanted to hear just about The Hobbit. And we also were also scheduled both days against a FireFly panel which had many actors. Now, people love the Hobbit, they love the TheOneRing, but you know, there’s ‘actors’ – famous people (Sohaib laughs) so we were genuinely worried, but people were just chomping at the bit for the Hobbit, and they were chomping at the bit for any information about what these film might be like, and who’s involved and we follow this thing day to day almost, but a lot of people don’t have the time or they don’t know where to go, or they don’t know how to follow it day to day. So those news titbits that readers at the TheOneRing.net might have gathered over the last six months, we crammed it into an hour of presentation with photos, visuals and they just like, for instance, we said ‘Yes, Ian McKellen will be back as Gandalf’, and the place just went bananas.
Sohaib: (Sohaib laughs) and its funny, I’m actually at your sire right now as were speaking – this is just a side note, this is funny, that John Noble actually not going to be returning in (Larry: “Right”).. and I was just sort of surprised, everyone was so excited, Is it because of the series ‘Fringe‘, or is it just, do you have any more information about that? Information about why John decided not to return.
Larry: Oh. Yeah. Well, he’s busy with the TV series which the name eludes me at the moment, but he’s kind of excited about that I think, and err, it’s a big commitment too. Some people had moved their whole house and their whole lives to New Zealand and that a great experience, not one actor or person who was involved regretted it, but to do it again is not a casual thing, and his career, he’s a busy guy. (Sohaib agrees) You can’t just walk away from a TV show.
We talked about the mystery of Film2 – it could have been, not centred, but it could’ve had a lot of Denethor – John Nobles character in it – and so the whole kingdom and his sons Faramir and Boromir – that could have been part of the film, but err, it seems likely because he’s busy, that del Toro will probably look elsewhere, although they may have been looking elsewhere anyway.
Sohaib: Right, right, right. And I know that off the air we talked a little bit about, I don’t want to say a concern of the fans, because I myself, I was thrilled, I’ve been thrilled since the announcement was made, but there’s still a little concern as far as who has taken the reins – the Director reins on this project – some people are concerned about Guillermo del Toro working on the project – talk a little bit about that, and what’s your personal feel and personal belief and feeling about Guillermo directing the film, because I’m thrilled. He was the one person other than Peter Jackson that I thought could handle a project of this magnitude.
Larry: Well, my personal feeling is that he’s the perfect guy, at the perfect time, for the perfect project I just think if all the stars lined up, it’s just as it should be.
Now the problem with fans, or the problem fans have, isn’t that they don’t like Guillermo, but some are not aware, not everybody pays attention to who directed what – they just to cool movies that they like – they don’t quite know, he’s an unknown quantity, and there are those still devoted to Peter Jackson vision of Middle-earth that they want Jackson in that Director’s chair, but we remind people that (you know) the way things worked out, if Jackson had the time and absolutely wanted to be in that chair Directing the Films he would be. But I think he saw the wisdom too, that you know ‘hey some new creative ideas would be good for the film’, so he’s still involved as the Executive Producer and the WETA workshop people will be involved and John Howe and Allen Lee, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, those people will also be involved. But Guillermo brings a little bit of a fresh idea, which I think is very healthy for the movie.
We still have the continuity, but we have some energy and kind of his.. You know I’m just thrilled as can be. So I think it’s just nothing but positive, but fans have to realize that, as devoted as they are to Jackson, this is the way Jackson wanted things as well.
Sohaib: Exactly. It’s funny because about a week or two ago I actually spoke to Kristin Thompson, and she’s going to be on, we’re going to be running her segment in a couple of weeks and, you know she still had some – cause she’s obviously, she’s a huge Tolkien fan, and for those of you who are not aware, she’s written a book titled ‘The Frodo Franchise‘ – she had mentioned that when she first saw The Fellowship of The Ring, I was actually surprised by her comments, but again I can understand given her background being such a fan of Tolkien‘s seminal work – but she was not really happy with The Fellowship of The Ring, it took her a few times (Larry: ‘WOW) to – yeah she mentioned that – it took her a few times to actually I guess embrace the film and again, I think it’s funny so many people now embrace Peter Jackson‘s work, and I think a lot of those people were ..
… again, if you look at some of Peter Jacksons prior work, obviously he did The Frighteners, but if you look at some of his independent work with like Bad Taste some of those little puppet films he did, if anyone who is a literary critic or a fan of those works actually watch those films, I can imagine they probably would have been in complete horror. You know, they’re concerned about Guillermo, none of his works are out – I don’t want to say as ‘off the beaten track’ as Peters prior work, but it’s funny you think now those same fans; some of them are a little concerned about Guillermo – it’s interesting that you mentioned the fans – I don’t want to say fickle nature – cause I think it’s just they’re so passionate, they just want to see a continuation of the quality of work that they saw in the previous three films.
Larry: Well, you’re absolutely right, and it is a kind of a fascinating parallel, I mean there are a lot of similarities to Jackson 1998 and 99 getting the Lord Of The Rings going and Guillermo doing that now. I mean they definitely both have a background in horror – and in fact if people haven’t seen the Devil’s Backbone it’s such a good movie that Guillermo made. It’s a lot like a companion piece almost with Pans Labyrinth. But, his works – yeah, you could look at them and say wow, how can this guy tackle a two gigantic big budget Middle-earth films that depend so much on characterization and other things because they see him as a ‘horror’ guy – which, you know, I personally think a Director can do more than one thing . There’s a lot of parallels which is really interesting.
Sohaib: What do you think – I don’t think Guillermo needs to do this but – I had the wonderful pleasure of actually attending the New York Comic Con many moons ago, and Guillermo was there with the entire cast of Hellboy, and I think it’s to me – I don’t want to say that – because I was already someone who believed in Guillermo, and I wanted him to Direct the film and not to take anything away from Sam Raimi – but I was shuddering in horror, because I did not want Sam Raimi (he’ll probably be never on our show now) but I did not want him to Direct The Hobbit Films. And when I heard that he was (Guillermo) was going to be the man I was all really excited but – I would encourage anyone who is not sold on Guillermo to simply (you know) maybe go into YouTube maybe you know, watch a video of any of his presentations that he’s given – and not just Hellboy, any of his other films and you will see someone – I haven’t seen anyone with that much energy and passion in Hollywood in a very long time. The only other person I think I’ve seen with that much passion actually was Peter Jackson.
Larry: Yeah, I agree with Guillermo, I think you said it perfectly. Slightly away from your topic, I’m standing here in my little back alley – there’s two photographers and a scantily clad Super Girl doing a photo shoot (Sohaib laughs) – which is just the essence here – we are talking about film and here’s some fans with crazy costumes – it’s the essence of DragonCon so (Sohaib laughs) … I should have had a little video camera
Sohaib: (laughs) I was going to say hopefully maybe you have a couple of images you can send them to our website, we’ll definitely post those on Fictional Frontiers on our www.fictionalfrontiers.com
Website, but I’m going to hopefully be there in attendance next year and Larry we have about 5 minutes left – so you said the enthusiasm was wonderful about the films – What about aside from the fan response, have you heard anything else about the film itself, because I actually got an opportunity to speak to Richard Taylor a couple of weeks ago when I was in San Diego, and again, that was a couple of weeks ago, and he’s still seemed to be a little bit vague about some of the specifics. He said there wasn’t an outlaying of budget, a budgetary limitations or there’s not really that much out there but they’re still in the formative stages – What do you expect to see over the next couple of weeks and months probably leading up into 09?
Larry: Well that’s actually a brilliant question because there really is some actual real news that – I sleep better at night knowing what I’m about to talk about – When we spoke to Guillermo last he was just doing his Hellboy publicity and he said his wife was dictating a vacation, which he needed, then he was going to get onto of the writing phase of The Hobbit, which we thought would maybe the very early part of September. But in the last week, it’s come out that they are actually are in the scripting stage of The Hobbit. Now I don’t know if that means Guillermo’s on the phone with the Lord Of The Rings scriptwriter Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh and Jackson, but that is underway. So I like knowing when I wake up today – here I am at DragonCon today as we speak, that the Hobbit script is being worked on. That makes me a happy guy.
And that has to happen of course so that they can get things ready, so they can look at budgets – it’s hard to have a budget without a script, it’s hard to begin part or pre-production without a script, so as the script progresses to the end of the year, which is the schedule we’ve been given, it will allow WETA, and it will allow Hollywood to fix budgets, come up with sets, attack a shooting schedule and post production and pre-production, and really figure the film out, so that’s happening now. To me that’s really…
Sohaib: Oh yeah, that’s good. That’s very exciting news for me as well and – just on a side, I’m not trying to name drop here but hopefully in the next couple of weeks actually I’ll have an opportunity to speak to Howard Shore – he’s going to be…
Sohaib: … Yes, he’s going to be here in the Philly region, there’s a special celebration involving Macey’s in Philadelphia – hopefully I’ll be able to talk to him for a brief period of time. I going to ask him about the scoring of the new films, because obviously he’s going to be involved with the Hobbit and H2 as it’s being referred to as, and maybe he can give us a little more insight into what’s going on along those lines…
But before we go Larry, I know this is completely off the beaten track as far as Lord Of The Rings, but you mentioned an interesting rumour you heard over at DragonCon and again its funny, (I dont) – you know I started this show with a bashing, but I guess for lack of a better phrase, a bashing of the Indiana Jones film this Summer, and you actually heard an interesting rumour at DragonCon – Could you elaborate a little bit on that before we head out?
Larry: Yeah, yeah. How much time do I have?
Sohaib: (laughs) you have about 2 minutes.
Larry: Ok. Frank Darabont wrote a script for the Indiana Jones movie that we – you know, the latest one The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – and his script was somewhat rejected by Mr Lucas and they kind of re-wrote it, and re-did it and changed it, and the film came out and, like you, its not quite what I hoped for. Well, Darabont if people don’t know is the writer of Shawshank Redepton and he’s really quite a craftsman from a script point of view. And word is Harrison Ford and Spielberg – now again, this is totally rumour – but the people I heard this from gives me some pause, it could be real. So Harrision and Speilberg said well, this maybe wasn’t how we wanted to end Indianan Jones, so maybe we should think about another film and maybe we should really think about Darabont again. And you know, George had his day, and maybe we could move the whole film over – a little bit away from him and his influence and work the way that Spielberg wants it and Harrison Ford. So again, a rumour, but, kind of lights up my Christmas Tree to think that those guys could work and again, make these Indianan Jones, the final Indianan Jones Movie one last shot and that’s pretty cool to me.
Sohaib: That actually excites me as well because I think that I was so disappointed by the other film that, you know again, George Lucas in his own way he’s a genius (Larry agrees) but I think that every genius, every project they work on, does not necessarily mean that they are going to replicate that level of expertise that they demonstrated on their previous project.
But Larry it’s been great! Have a safe trip back from Atlanta, and hopefully we’ll do this again in the next couple of weeks.
Larry: Yeah. I want to say, thanks again for having us on, love it that you help the TheOneRing and if people haven’t been to DragonCon go ahead and make your plans now it’s always a (?) weekend. You’ve got a whole year for this unbelievable experience.
Sohaib: Yes, it is. And do visit the www.TheOneRing.net
You’ve been listening to Sohaib on Fictional Frontiers. We’ll see you next week.
Transcript (c)by Deleece Cook 31/8/08 for theTheOneRing.net & Fictional Frontiers.