TORn staffer Saystine found us another great interview video from Yahoo! Movies UK in which Hobbit cast members Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis discuss how the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, will differ from An Unexpected Journey.
“It will get more dangerous and dark as Bilbo gets further away from home and in more jeopardy,” says Andy Serkis, who, in addition to playing Gollum in the films, is Second Unit Director on the trilogy.
Will we enjoy the departure from the more lighthearted nature of Unexpected Journey? Well Richard Armitage will, at least. He says, “Obviously I favor the dark.”
Observant Net watchers from the Tolkien Forever group in Los Angeles spotted these two new videos this week in which cast members, including Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, and Andy Serkis, weigh in on the dragon we’re all waiting for and on the decision to make three ‘Hobbit’ films.
In the first video from IGN, cast members discuss what they know (or don’t) about the mysterious Smaug, and what we can expect to see of the dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Richard Armitage (Thorin) says, “I haven’t seen the dragon, and I begged them to show me the dragon!” And James Nesbitt (Bofur) tantalizes us, saying, “I think it will blow people away… I think it will be an important and exciting cinematic moment.”
In the second video from Yahoo! Movies, cast members address the questions why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is quite long, and why there was a need for three full films to tell the full Hobbit story. Andy Serkis (Gollum) sums it up by saying, “Pete likes to make long films.” But Richard Armitage assures us that, “come the Battle of the Five Armies, you’re going to be glad you took the time in Bag End.”
Back in the First Age of TheOneRing.net when the interwebs were new and fansites were breaking ground on the way movies were covered, TORn used to consistantly swamp media or website polls that featured any “Lord of the Rings” characters. We would vote for J.R.R. Tolkien as the Author of the Century or something and chat about “what if Sean Connery is cast as Gandalf.” It was fun for a while but it actually got a little tiresome and the practice slowly faded away. There just wasn’t a need for Tolkien fandom to validate its place in the pantheon of fantasy or entertainment or popular culture. It was a nice memory or footnote in our online community’s culture.
Then, a couple of days ago, our staffer Justin, with the least Tolkien TORn handle of them all, started to hit the MTV movie awards category for “best hero,” by promoting the Twitter hashtag #votebilbo. He used our Twitter feed (@TheOneRingNet) to push the tag that tallies a vote for Bilbo as the best hero of 2012 every time somebody uses it on Twitter. Truthfully, I thought it was harmless but pretty useless (sorry Justin!) and a bit silly (sorry everybody!). Why take up the cause for fictional characters to fight it out in a meaningless contest that really only helps MTV? We have our own Middle-earth Madness for that kind of fun already. Plus, Snow White was leading the way and either kids liked that movie a whole lot more than the boxoffice showed or the votes were coming because “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart played the title role. She is big with the MTV market and any attempt to catch her would be futile. But, the community pushed Bilbo past Batman. About then, I gave Justin and his movement a second thought and support.
Joining in the Twitter voice, we redoubled our efforts and next thing you know, Iron Man was in the rear view mirror as well and Bilbo was in second place. A funny thing happened during the process: It became really fun on Twitter to #VoteBilbo! It is now something of a social media game to find clever ways to #VoteBilbo and we at TORn were able to re-tweet some of the better ideas, helping it all go viral. The group experience of the “old days” was back but in a much more interactive way. Fun with the community! Then, the hashtag started to trend in the UK and today in US as well. It has grown well beyond @TheOneRingNet and not long ago now the official Hobbit twitter account @TheHobbitMovie joined the cause. They promote the effort with dignity and restraint, something fans are not compelled to do.
So there are a lot of funny #vote Bilbo tweets out there now, a few shared in this story. It became a thing. Staffer personal twitter accounts like @SlaveBoyFilms, @MrLDC, @Quickbeam2000, @maegwen, @CruisingCathy and probably lots of others I haven’t seen (add them in the story staffers!), have joined the cause. And fellow fans have been funny and brilliant. At one point, #votebilbo took the lead but Stewart has stormed back. Its hard to imagine a Tolkien fanbase, less rooted in Twitter, having the numbers and frankly the passion to carry this to a win when voting ends April 14. I don’t know if we care enough, but it still is fun! As this is being written, less than 100 votes separate the two figures with over 40 thousand tweets cast. But, hey, this is kind of fun! Being clever and supporting a fictional character is pretty good entertainment. And, we have renamed the other character Snow WhiteTreeOfGondor since she carries a LOTR shield in her MTV photo.
Rumor has it that retweets don’t count unless the new tweet is a quote that includes a new one. And, only one tag per Tweet is counted. We don’t really know the rules exactly, but consider this a call to arms. Tweeters have been asking for help from the Sherlock crowd, Potter fans, Game of Thrones viewers (George R.R. Martin praises Tolkien at every opportunity) and anybody else they can think of really. In the meantime, be entertained and remember: #VoteBilbo! If you haven’t joined Twitter, you can follow TORn and its staff members for starters, where we usually tease our best content and even break news. We will Tweet live from the convention circuit including the Comic-Con in San Diego.
Talking to Shawn Adler from movieline.com, Weta Digital visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri talks about the use of 3D HFR in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He explains why it takes some getting used to, and why he feels it’s a big step forward for films, like the transition from black and white to color.
“If you grew up seeing films in black and white and suddenly start seeing films in color, some people are going to have the reaction ‘Wow, that’s great!’ and other people are going to have the reaction, ‘That’s not moviemaking! Films should be made in black and white! You’re losing the mystery of how to deal with tonality, you’re sacrificing that to deal with color!'” [Read more]
Theaters, at least some of them, where fans can experience The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 48 frames per second (instead of the decades old 24 fps of traditional film) have been announced for Regal Cinemas. The announcement also says that all 48 fps screenings will be in 3D. It is not known if that pertains only to the Regal Cinemas or if that will be universally true. (Editor’s note: I hope not!) Many states are not listed but Regal is not the only theater chain that is updating its projection equipment to show director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films as they were shot, in 3D at 48 fps. But, when tickets go on sale November 7, Regal, at least for now, has given consumers the best information about how The Hobbit will be displayed, a win for cinema fans.
The post announcing the high frame rate 3D screenings explains (sort of) to potential consumers the reason behind the new technology and Jackson’s efforts to shoot the films in a new way. It is careful to point out that viewers will be able to watch the film in the 24 fps, stating viewers can see it in 2D, 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D and “HFR 3D,” the term it uses for 48 fps screenings. (Most everybody else calls it 48 fps, but perhaps that will be confusing when James Cameron shoots at 60 fps so it is branding a term to cover both.) To read the entire explanation from Regal and to see its cinema listing, click here on a page they title “The Hobbit 48.” (Yes, Regal we are available for branding consultation!) We will post more theater and chain information as it becomes available and more on the technology behind these films in the weeks leading up to its opening. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in the U.S. December 14 with slight variety for markets around the world. Dolby Atmos, a revolutionary new sound system for theaters is also a possibility for The Hobbit but no details of participating locations are available.