HBT3-bs-343122.DNG This is a really interesting — and sometimes provocative — interview from just after the premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five armies.

The Daily Beast chatted with Peter Jackson about his two decades exploring Middle-earth, his thoughts on Tolkien purists (controversial!), evading the MPAA’s initial R rating on the most recent Hobbit film (I hadn’t heard about that), and his plans for the future (still hoping for the Dambusters film, personally).

I found this quote really interesting…

I don’t mean to undervalue the battle, they could be holding a knife and fork with their hands and be sitting at the table eating, or they can have a sword in their hand and fighting for their lives, it’s still the storytelling and the narrative that these guys are on that you’re really focused on.

Don’t forget to follow the link to read the full interview.

I usually start these interviews off by asking “How are you doing?” which is kind of a throwaway question for a movie junket. But, I am actually really curious this time. It’s been a long journey adapting these six films. How are you doing as the last one winds down?

I haven’t had much time to process that. I am obviously exhausted. We finished the movie about a week ago. On the last day I worked on it, it was like a 40-hour day. I haven’t fully recovered from that yet. So I have to apologize if I sound a bit exhausted. But I haven’t had time to process the actual emotional end of it yet. I don’t think I am going to feel sad or regretful in any way, particularly because I feel very proud of the films we ended up making.

You know, you set out to do something, and I have achieved what I set out to do to the best of my ability. Right or wrong, good or bad, I feel that I tried my best and did my best. So I am OK. I am good. I think people seem to enjoy the films we made and fans go to them four or five times, and for a filmmaker, you couldn’t wish for a better result really.

Coming into this trilogy, what was the scariest aspect of revisiting Middle-earth for you?

Well, there are sort of two answers to that. As a filmmaker what was scary was the thought I had initially before I started shooting: Was this going to be just repeating myself or trying to be in competition with myself? So that was a fear. And the other thing, and more practical thing with The Hobbit, was the concept of a story with 13 dwarves… you have to somehow pull out the ones to feature. That was a daunting thing with The Hobbit. You almost wish Tolkien had stopped with six dwarves [laughs].

galadriel cate blanchett credits botfa It was just like, Oh my god. The first part of it, I just turned up on set and realized, I am actually really enjoying this. I enjoyed going back into Middle-earth again. It wasn’t repeating myself or copying myself. It was a different story, different dialogue, most of the characters were different. So I was wrong to have that fear. I really enjoyed it. Still, we had the 13 dwarves to deal with, but at least in this movie we get to knock a couple off, which is a relief.

All the previous Tolkien films you’ve done begin with a flashback or a prologue of sorts. Return of the King had Smeagol, An Unexpected Journey featured Frodo and an older Bilbo. However, Battle of Five Armies jumps right into the action. Were there thoughts to adding some sort of intro?

When you’re shooting three films back-to-back and releasing them a year apart, the one thing you can do, which you usually can’t do in filmmaking, is to have the knowledge and assurance that a year later, the next film is going to come out. And we thought, You know what? [Let’s do] a cliffhanger because we know we are going to carry on the story. So why not take advantage?

It’s not the end of the story, we have another film, we’ve already shot it, it’s going to come out in a year from now, so why wreck things up? Why not finish hard on a cliffhanger and the next one just jump straight back in? It was a rare opportunity. You have to be able to shoot them at the same time to be brave enough to do that. And hey, in six months time, they will be on DVD and they are just going to run together anyway.

Of course people will be doing a marathon of Hobbit films once they come out, just like they did with Lord of the Rings.

Well, you have to talk about the nutcases that do the marathon of watching all six!… Obviously The Hobbit is the story of Thorin Oakenshield’s quest for the Lonely Mountain, and Lord of the Rings is the story of Frodo’s journey to try to destroy the ring. But they are nonetheless connected and they feed into each other and are in the same world.

You’ve mentioned wanting to distinguish the battle in this film, which is this really large, 45-minute fight scene. There are so many moving parts. How do you keep something like that together, narratively speaking? I assume it’s difficult.

Um, yes. It is. But in a way, the battle is almost a distraction. It’s not really the problem. Because really you could have these characters running through the streets of New York and you can have the same issues. It’s that you have multiple storylines heading towards a climax and you kind of want them all to climax at the same time, or certainly in the right order. So you’ve got the classic narrative puzzle that you’re trying to weave and shape. So the battle is almost irrelevant, in a funny way. The battle is really a setting and that’s the action that they’re doing. But it doesn’t make it any easier or harder… Our characters are just in the thick of the story. So we have all these narratives now, which are thundering towards a conclusion and we are just having to weave them all together so that you feel like the pace is working.

I don’t mean to undervalue the battle, they could be holding a knife and fork with their hands and be sitting at the table eating, or they can have a sword in their hand and fighting for their lives, it’s still the storytelling and the narrative that these guys are on that you’re really focused on.

[Read More]


TORn One Last Party campaign hits $160,000 with more than 1,000 pledges!

Our One Last Party fundraiser on Indiegogo has now raised $160,000 — we’re a little over $19,000 from our goal!

Seriously, we are so humbled by everyone’s support. More than 1,000 people have pledged and scores of people have reached out to donate items or their time to help our party fundraiser. You are all awesome!

If you’d like to join us at our a Party of Special Magnificence in Hollywood in February — a toast to all SIX Middle-earth movies, now is the time to pledge to our party campaign. Even if you can’t make it to Hollywood (or if you’ve already contributed), you can help out by retweeting or sharing our fundraiser across social media.

Pledges go into our draw to win a signed Battle of the Five Armies poster

Thanks to one very generous supporter who is keen to see the campaign reach its goal, we are able to give away this Battle of the Five Armies poster (see the picture below) signed at San Diego ComicCon by:

  • Dwalin — Graham McTavish
  • Gollum — Andy Serkis
  • Tauriel — Evangeline Lilly
  • Thranduil — Lee Pace
  • Legolas — Orlando Bloom
  • Bard — Luke Evans
  • Smaug — Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Frodo — Elijah Wood
  • Galadriel — Cate Blanchett

one last party botfa poster This poster (measuring 13′ by 20′), together with the holographic wristband that was needed to get it at SDCC, will be given away to one lucky supporter, chosen at random from all the pledges of $10 and above that we receive THIS WEEK (Monday 12th to Sunday 18th January).

The poster will only be given away IF we reach our goal! If we get to $180k by (or before!) the deadline on Sunday 18th, one name will be chosen at random to receive this amazing poster and wristband. Each new pledge of $10 or higher during this final week will be a separate entry into the draw; the more times you pledge, the more chances you have to win!

Visit our campaign page to see how you can help — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!