Welcome to the Hobbit Movie FAQ!

As part of our ongoing mission to help keep the fan community informed, TORn has selected some of your most frequently asked questions from emails, our message boards and our chatroom and provided answers below. Useful links to supplement the information have also been included. As the movies progress, the FAQ will evolve and change, so be sure to check back every so often. If you have new information or ideas for the FAQ, e-mail us. And, as always, you can depend on TORn’s Home Page as the ultimate source for the latest Hobbit news and our Hobbit Movie forum and Barliman’s Chat as the best place to discuss it with other fans!

(Note: although Guillermo has relinquished the director’s chair, he remains one of the primary script and screenwriters and had a huge influence on the pre-production phase of the movies (set design, creature design, casting, etc). Therefore, you will still find a numbre of his quotes below, as we believe they still provide very legitimate insight as to what the final production will look like).

1.1. Will “The Hobbit” be filmed as a single movie?
In a nutshell: no. In the early stages of their collaboration, PJ and GDT  planned to film the events in the book The Hobbit as a stand-alone movie, with a second movie, or ‘bridge move’ as it became known, used to address events outside of the primary storyline of  The Hobbit, continuing to where the Lord of the Rings movies pick up the story again. Fairly early on, however, they confirmed that it made much more sense to film the storyline of The Hobbit over the span of two films, addressing events outside the story at the same time. ill span both films. PJ: “We just decided it would be a mistake to cram everything into one movie.”

Useful Links:
GDT Message board post about “The Hobbit” as a single movie
Empire Magazine Interview with PJ & GDT (June 2009)

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1.2. What will be included in the two Hobbit movies?
According to the Empire Online interview with PJ and GDT (link above), the two movies will include all of the iconic moments in the book, The Hobbit, as well as being expanded to follow other events that occur ‘offstage.’ This includes the White Council and Gandalf’s comings and goings to Dol Guldur.  Pj: “We expanded out the universe a lot more so that we weren’t just staying with Bilbo and the Dwarves on their journey, as the book pretty much does. We started to expand some of what’s happening to Gandalf outside of that journey.” Things we know are included so far:

– backstory of Thrain, Thorin’s father

– Beorn

– Spiders

– The White Council

– Gandalf’s journeys to Dol Guldur

– The three trolls (Tom, Bert, William)

– Sauron ( including some of his history)

Useful Links:
Message board thread: What does a “sequel” mean?
GDT comment about the 2nd Film
(Also see Empire Magazine link in 1.1 above)

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1.3. What are the movie release dates?
The release dates were originally publicized to be December 2011 and 2012 with filming set to start around March of 2010. However, delays due to finalizing the script, MGM’s financial woes, finding a new director after Guillermo Del Toro stepped down, and an actor’s union boycott, have pushed the release dates to 2012 and 2013. The films were officially ‘greenlit’ (given the go-ahead to start spending money on things like sets, locations and actors)  on October 15, 2010 with filming set to begin in February, 2011.

Useful Links:
Hobbit ‘greenlight’ announcement

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1.4. Will both movies be filmed at the same time like they did with LOTR?
Yes, both movies The Hobbit will be filmed at the same time. This will help maintain continuity for both films and ensure the actors are available for the entire filming process. (Also see answer to question 1.3).

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1.5. Where will the movies be filmed?
The films will be made in New Zealand, the same as the Lord of the Rings movies. Some of the same locations will be used, including Hobbiton, which is already being planted with flowers and shrubs to make it look similar to The Shire in the Lord of the Rings movies. Scouting for other locations has begun, although specifics have yet to be announced, undoubtedly pending the green light.

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1.6. What LOTR actors, if any, will return for the films?
Both PJ and GDT have indicated as many cast members from the LOTR movies as the story and the actors’ schedules allow will be included. Actors that are already confirmed to be returning include Sir Ian McKellen who will reprise his role as Gandalf, and Andy Serkis who will play Gollum (though as of this update, no contracts have been signed). Per PJ: “You can read “The Hobbit” and pretty much see which characters play a part. The unknown factor is Film Two, which we are still developing. If we wished to write one of the LOTR characters into the narrative of Film Two, we would only do that with that actors blessing, and willingess to take part. Otherwise we’d take the writing in another direction.”

Useful Links:
Ian McKellen will Reprise Role as Gandalf
Serkis Confirms Hobbit Involvement?

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1.7. Will Howard Shore be the composer?
Yes! PJ and Howard Shore himself have all confirmed that he will return to do the Score for The Hobbit and the second film. According to Shore he has been working on ideas since filming of The Two Towers. Per Del Toro: “Shore is the VOICE of these films and will absolutely be invited back. Peter and Fran have talked to him a couple of times already and I’ve exchanged emails about the subject. He will return.”

Useful Links:
Howard Shore Confirms his involvement in The Hobbit
Howard Shore going There… Back Again

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1.8. Will Weta be doing the special effects?
Yes. Weta Digital will be the primary special effects firm doing effects for the movies, and Weta Workshop will once again be designing the armour and weapons.

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1.9. How do I get cast as an extra in the movies?

The only way to become an extra in the films is to be *in* New Zealand at the time casting calls go out (and specifically *in* the city in which they need extras on the days announcements are made) and either be a citizen of New Zealand or possess a New Zealand work permit. Calls for extras will occur much the same as they did for LOTR: ads will be published in local papers and broadcast on local radio stations and you will have to be available to work within 24-48 hours. So, unless you’re a Kiwi, or are ready, willing and able to move to New Zealand for two years, happen to be in the right place at the right time and are fully documented to work there, you’re out of luck.

Update: Earlier in the year, incorrect contact and address details were posted to TORN and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. See link below for updated contact information fro 3Foot 7. However, note that 3Foot7 has confirmed that as of May 18, 2010, they no longer need any further applications. See link below for corrected contact information.

At one time, GDT indicated that they may hold a contest or two that would allow fans to have a small role as an extra in the movies. Stay tuned to TheOneRing.net home page where details will be posted first!

Note: tourist visas to New Zealand are currently valid for 90 days. A number of countries have working holiday visa schemes with New Zealand; they are generally valid for 12 months and allow you to work for up to three months at a time; you also have to be aged between 18 and 30 to be eligible. See Immigration NZ for details.

If you’re already a professional or semi-professional actor, you should work through your agent and/or contact talent agencies in Wellington. If you’re lucky enough to be a New Zealand citizen or be legally working there, you’re the envy of us all!!

Important note: If and when TORn hears of casting calls, we’ll post the news immediately on the Home Page of the site. However, no one at TORn can get you cast as an extra in the movie, so emailing us with such requests is, unfortunately, futile. If you’ve read through this entry, you now know as much as we do!

Useful Links:
merklynn’s post on what it takes to be an extra – from experience!
3Foot 7 extra casting update, May 18, 2010

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1.10. I have a screenplay/script and/or great ideas for one. How can I get them to PJ?
Part and parcel of going forward with these projects included having professional screenwriters on board, namely, the same ones who crafted The Lord of the Rings movies. Legalities prevent them from even acknowledging a screenplay from someone who isn’t already under contract, much less reading it. So, getting a screenplay or script that you’ve written seen by anyone involved in the movies is, unfortunately, not going to happen.

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1.11. Will there be talking animals in The Hobbit?
Guillermo indicated that he will remain true to the text and that animals will talk in the movies: “I think it should be done exactly as in the book- the “talking beast” motif has to exist already to allow for that great character that is Smaug. It is far more jarring to have a linear movie and then – out of the blue – a talking Dragon.” It’s reasonable to expect PJ was in line with this and will also have the animals talk/communicate.

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1.12. How will they handle Smaug?
Guillermo spoke extensively on how he planned to handle Smaug. Some of his most in-depth comments come from right here on TORn: “Smaug should not be “the Dragon in the Hobbit movie” as if it was just “another” creature in a Bestiary. Smaug should be “The DRAGON” for all movies past and present. The shadow he cast and the greed he comes to embody- the “need to own” casts its long shadow and creates a thematic / dramatic continuity of sorts that articulates the story throughout.” It remains to be seen how much of the original, Del Toro influenced Smaug will make it into the movies.

Useful Links:
The Dragon Solution – GDT Shares his thoughts

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1.13. Will there be a Hobbit Fan Club and/or magazine?
It’s likely that there will, indeed, be an official fan club set up for the Hobbit films. However, it’s also likely that it won’t be established for quite some time. To lend some perspective, the fan club for the Lord of the Rings films was established in 2001, only months before the opening of The Fellowship of the Rings, and the first issue of the magazine (the Jan/Feb 2002 issue) wasn’t published until after The Fellowship of the Ring opened. So, be patient and until then remember there are plenty of kindred spirits right here at TORn! Share your thoughts and views with them any time in our Barlimans Chat or on our Hobbit Message Board.

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1.14. Will The Hobbit be in 3-D?
Yes. Early indications from GDT were that the 3-D option had not been discussed much, so speculation was that it would not be filmed in 3-D. However, as part of the ‘green light’ announcement made on October 15, 2010 it was announced that “Both Hobbit movies will be filmed in Digital 3-D, using the latest camera and stereo technology to create a high quality, comfortable viewing experience.”

Useful Links:
Hobbit green light and 3-D announcement

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2.1. What is Peter Jackson’s role in the movies?
Rumors that PJ was in talks with MGM to make two Hobbit movies started circulating as early as mid-2006. After months of speculation, the announcement that PJ would actually produce the two films came on December 18, 2007. Guillermo Del Toro was announced as the director on April 24th of 2008 and word that Peter, Guillermo, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh had started writing the script as a team came in August of that year. So, it looked like Peter would wear two hats, those of producer and screen-writer, until May 30, 2010 when Del Toro stepped down from the director’s role. After more months of speculation, the announcement was finally made on October 1, 2010 that PJ would, indeed, add a third hat to his responsibilities: that of director.

Useful Links:
Peter Jackson to produce “The Hobbit”
Del Toro announced as Hobbit director
Scripting for “The Hobbit” Begins
Peter Jackson to Direct “The Hobbit”

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2.2. Did Guillermo Del Toro really visit TORn?
Yes, he did, on quite a regular basis. GDT, as he’s affectionately know here, quietly registered on the boards shortly before it was officially announced on April 24, 2008 that he would direct the two Hobbit films. His username is “Guillermo.” He posted an amazingly crafted riddle (both here and on the Hellboy site) reminiscent of the “riddle game’ between Bilbo and Gollum in The Hobbit. His intention was to have us guess the time of the official announcement that he was to direct the two films, but legalities delayed it by a few days.

Sadly, his decision to leave the Hobbit production broke as an exclusive story right here on our site, and he posted farewell messages to us all. To this day he remains a registered user here and a valued member of our community, and still drops in from time to time. We will always cherish his friendship and wish him nothing but the very best in his future endeavors.

Useful Links:
GDT’s original riddle post
GDT’s riddle reply post
GDT’s introductory post
Gullermo Del Toro Departs “The Hobbit”
GDT’s Hobbit Farewell post
Also see “Del Toro announced as Hobbit director” in 2.1 above

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