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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Release Date: December 14, 2012 (North America)

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy          MPAA Rating: PG-13

Production Phase: Released

Studio: Warner Bros.   Production Company: WingNut Films

Who's In It: Andy Serkis (Gollum), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins),

Who's Making It: Peter Jackson (Director), Philippa Boyens (Screenwriter), Peter Jackson (Screenwriter), Fran Walsh (Screenwriter), Guillermo del Toro (Screenwriter)

Premise: Inquisitive hobbit Bilbo Baggins sets off on a trek to the distant Lonely Mountain to have an encounter with a fire-breathing dragon named Smaug.... More »

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Line Cinema has announced that filming on the two Hobbit movies has started in New Zealand.

The studio also released two photos showing director Peter Jackson in Bilbo's home in The Shire, as well as this overview of the story:

"The Hobbit follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

"Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.

"Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s 'precious' ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know."

Lensing will take place around the country and in Stone Street Studios in Wellington. Both films will be shot in digital 3D.

- New Line Cinema. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

With Ian McKellen, Andry Serkis and Elijah Wood now confirmed to star in the Hobbit films, one wonders if Christopher Lee is being asked to come back and play his white wizard character Saruman in the new movies.

An answer of sorts has arrived via Lee's official website and a statement posted today on it concerning the actor's availability for The Hobbit: "Sir Christopher Lee had been in talks to reprise his role as the wizard Saruman and it now looks certain, providing that he is in good health, that he will be appearing in the movie."

- ChristopherLeeWeb.com. Comment on this Scoop (1)
Monday, January 10, 2011

Lord of the Rings movie fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that both Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis have signed on to reprise their roles as Gandalf the Grey and Gollum, respectively, in the two Hobbit movies. Additionally, Elijah Wood will make a surprise return to The Shire of Middle-earth and once again play Frodo Baggins, the character he portrayed in all three Lord of the Rings movies.

In the time leading up to today's announcement, both McKellen and Serkis had been notably absent from the spate of casting announcements issued by Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson. While there still are important parts left to fill for The Hobbit (such as the voice of Smaug, the dragon), McKellen and Serkis were both heavily liked by fans of Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Had they not participated in The Hobbit films there's would have been a sizeable absence felt.

McKellen was the first made the announcement on his website:

 

All I had to decide was what to do with the time that is given me.

I’m 71 and fit: though at my age who knows what accident is 'round the next corner?  For a year or more, I have been arranging my professional commitments around the possibility of The Hobbit films starting at almost anytime.  We brought the Waiting for Godot tour of Australia to New Zealand early 2010, assuming I would stay on to start shooting soon after.  Then there was yet another delay: but in Wellington I met with Guillermo del Toro and later read his script for Part One, written with the LOTR writing team.  It was true to the style, the fun and the romance of the trilogy.

When Peter Jackson, already producing, resumed the director’s chair, he kept me in touch with developments.  A second screenplay was sent over, on the understanding that I would not talk about what I read in it.

After the ruckus over trade union expectations and unlikely rumours of filming outside New Zealand, suddenly crucial casting was announced, plus a start date in February 2011.  Martin Freeman as Bilbo sounds perfect.  As my agent continued to negotiate with Warner Brothers, I kept wondering was Gandalf what I most wanted to do, more than a new play for instance or indeed a new part?  Sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals.

Could I let Gandalf go?  Would anyone else care if I did?  Elsewhere, does anyone care that Michael Gambon was not the first to play Dumbledore?

The deciding negotiation was not about money but about dates.  Gandalf is needed on set over the next 18 months but with sizeable breaks when I can work on other projects.  My worry that I could not easily escape from Middle Earth was lifted.

I am happy to say I start filming in Wellington on February 21 2011. 

--Ian McKellen, London, January 2011

 

Regarding Serkis and Wood, Warner Bros. issued a press release confirming their involvement. "I cannot imagine returning to Middle-earth without these two wonderful actors," said Peter Jackson in the studio comment. "We began this journey together ten years ago and I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with Elijah and Andy again."

Rumor has it that Elijah Wood will be able to reprise his character of Frodo (who doesn't appear in The Hobbit story, as it's set before his birth) by appearing in the opening and closing moments of the two films. Frodo will be seen reading his uncle's story from his book.

The first day of filming The Hobbit takes place next month in February.

- Warner Bros., Ian McKellen, TheOneRing.net. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now that Cate Blanchett is signed to play Galadriel again in The Hobbit prequels, the next returning cast member from The Lord of the Rings trilogy whose deal might close next is Orlando Bloom (who played the elven archer Legolas). Sources tell Deadline that Bloom's contract is the closest to closing next out of the other returning Rings cast (such as Viggo Mortensen, Iam McKellen and Hugo Weaving.)

- Deadline. Comment on this Scoop (1)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cate Blanchett has signed on to reprise her role as Galadriel in The Hobbit prequel movies. "Cate is one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn't be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films," said director Peter Jackson about the news.

Sylvester McCoy (the seventh Doctor Who) was also confirmed as playing the part of Radagast the Brown, a wizard.

Other newly announced Hobbit actors include:

  • Sylvester McCoy (the seventh Doctor Who) was also confirmed as playing the part of Radagast the Brown, a wizard.
  • Ken Stott (Charlie Wilson's War) will play the dwarf Lord Balin.
  • Mikael Persbrandt, a Swedish actor, is playing a shapeshifter named Beorn. "The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can't imagine anyone else playing this character," commented Jackson.
  • Ryan Gage (Doctors, Outlaw) will be a Hobbit named Drogo Baggins.
  • Jed Brophy, from New Zealand, is playing the dwarf Nori.
  • William Kircher (Legend of the Seeker) will be the dwarf Bifur.

[Full story]

- New Line Cinema. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

James Nesbitt and Adam Brown have been now added to the growing cast of The Hobbit. Both British actors will play dwarves in the films; Nesbitt's character is named Bofur while Brown's is called Ori.

Among the roles that Nesbitt is known for are British mini-series Jekyll and Cold Feet and the Danny Boyle film Millions.

- New Line Cinema. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, October 28, 2010

The New Zealand government has reached an agreement with Warner Bros. to keep The Hobbit production in the country. As part of the negotiation, the country will pay $10 million to the studio to help market the movie as well as give additional tax incentives that will save the studio another $7.5 million dollars.

While it's highly unusual for a country to agree to help defray marketing costs for a movie studio, New Zealand stands to gain many times back their investment by keeping The Hobbit shot in their lands. The Lord of the Rings films have drawn international attention to New Zealand and catapulted the country to a world destination status.

Another concession from the local government was a promise to alter the employement laws, making it easier for foreign big-budget films to hire workers and cast members as independent contractors.

Comment on this Scoop (1)
Thursday, October 21, 2010

The two actors guilds that advised their members to not work on The Hobbit films have now issued a reversal of interest. Both the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists are no longer boycotting the production -- but the damage may not be possible to repair.

"The lifting of the blacklist on The Hobbit does nothing to help the films stay in New Zealand," said director Peter Jackson in the aftermath of the actors guilds' message. "The damage inflicted on our film industry by NZ Equity/MEAA is long since done.

"Next week Warners are coming down to NZ to make arrangements to move the production off-shore. It appears we now cannot make films in our own country - even when substantial financing is available."

Jackson states that Warner Bros. upper management has been spooked by the two guilds blacklisting The Hobbit production and now want to pull the entire production out of New Zealand. The news is big enough to be making the country's nightly news broadcasts and the top politicians of the land.

"My concern is that if Warner Brothers deems New Zealand is not a good place to make movies, then there is a real risk other major film production companies will also believe that to be the case," said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. "There's work to be done and the Government hasn’t given up trying to do its best to secure the movies. This is a very successful growth area for New Zealand and to have the film industry destroyed on the back of the actions of the unions is, I think, reprehensible."

The films are anticipated to start shooting in February 2011 so there is still some time left for the studio to change its mind and keep The Hobbit production in the same country where The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films were shot.

Comment on this Scoop (2)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Known to British audiences for his role as Tim in the original version of The Office, Martin Freeman has reportedly had to turn down the role of Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit films. According to The Sun newspaper (and carried online by TheOneRing.net), Freeman had already committed to starring in a BBC series called Sherlock when the offer to play Bilbo came to him. "It was one of the most difficult decisions of his career," said the source to the paper. "It was agonising but he had no other choice."

- TheOneRing.net via The Sun. Comment on this Scoop (1)
Friday, June 25, 2010

Negotiations between New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson have turned serious on the prospect of him helming both Hobbit pictures. Chief among the items that need to be worked out is whether Jackson can make both films on an accelerated timetable, to get them out into theaters by 2012 and 2013, and whether the financial turmoil caused by the MGM insolvency can be circumnavigated.

- The Hollywood Reporter. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here's a report that both MGM and New Line Cinema are wooing Peter Jackson to step in and direct The Hobbit. Other contenders include Harry Potter director David Yates, David Dobkin (Fred Claus) and Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Final Stand).

Reportedly, part of the complexity with negotiating for an A-list director is that already much of the profit sharing room to sweeten any deal has been already carved away by the Tolkien estate, producer Saul Zaentz and executive producer Harvey Weinstein.

- Deadline. Comment on this Scoop (1)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Now that the search is on for a replacement to sit in the director's chair, one of the possible candidates could be the original choice. Seeking a comment from Peter Jackson on the departure of Guillermo del Toro from The Hobbit project, The Dominion Post got the knighted filmmaker to step up to the plate and consider directing the fantasy duology.

"If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore," Jackson told the paper. The major problem with Jackson returning to Middle-earth lies with his commitments to other projects, like the second Tintin movie in development at DreamWorks. "The other studios may not let me out of the contracts," Jackson adds.

Asked if the financial uncertaincy with MGM could shut down the development on the two films like it did with the next James Bond movie, Jackson said "we don't intend to shut the project down,", and that everyone involved with the creation of The Hobbit wants to see it happen and find a replacement for del Toro quickly. "We don't intend to let this affect the progress. Everybody, including the studio, wants to see things carry on as per normal. The idea is to make it as smooth a transition as we can."

- The Dominion Post. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guillermo Del Toro announced today that he has exited directing the two Hobbit movies. In his own words, the director exclusively told TheOneRing.net the stunning news, casting a dark shadow on the fate of the cinema follow-up duology to The Lord of the Rings.
 
"In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life", del Toro said. "After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand.  I've been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director."

del Toro will remain credited as a co-writer on the screenplays.

What this new development may mean for the future of either Hobbit movie remains to be seen, as the financial crisis that MGM finds itself in hasn't abated. Last month all development on the next James Bond movie was suspended until the outcome of MGM's future could be determined.

 

- TheOneRing.net. Comment on this Scoop (1)
Monday, March 1, 2010

As more and more movies are now being made in 3-D, fans at The One Ring.net asked the question in that site's forums whether they would see the prequel movies presented in the third dimension. One of the people checking in to follow the conversation was none other than director Guillermo del Toro, a man that would have some insight into whether or not the speculation could be true.

"I wouldn't read much on it just yet, but now, after all this time, after Avatar doing the Box Office it did, we have had enquires from above about The Hobbit being in 3-D," del Toro said on the forums.

"No impositions or heavy leaning. Just enquires. Just fulfilling my promise to let you all know if discussions ever started. Cheers, GDT."

- The One Ring.net. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We've now learned the name of one actor who's auditioned for the role of Bilbo Baggins: British-born Matthew Goode (Leap Year, Watchmen). As he told The Telegraph, (and relayed by The One Ring), "Look at the size of me for Christ's sake!", but he would find it very hard to turn down the part if he were offered it.

- The Telegraph via The One Ring. Comment on this Scoop (0)


 

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