Production is underway on The Hobbit…again. Director Peter Jackson announced today that filming has resumed on the trilogy in New Zealand, as there’s still a bit of footage yet to be captured in order to fill the J.R.R. Tolkein adaptation out to three films. While originally envisioned as a two-film adaptation, Jackson and fellow screenwriters/producers Philipa Boyens and Fran Walsh convinced Warner Bros. to greenlight a third film last summer, after they had already wrapped what we presumed to be the bulk of principal photography. Hit the jump for more on the additional filming, including what material it covers.
Fans of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy will have to wait a few more months to see the final installment, The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Previously slated to open on July 18, 2014, Warner Bros. has pushed the closer back to December 17, 2014. This robs the picture of a summer box office, but takes it out of competition with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which opens on July 18th, as well as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, slated to open on August 1, 2014. As of right now, The Hobbit: There and Back Again has the sole spot on December 17th, but Minions and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland are expected to open that weekend. Will Gluck’s Annie remake and Shawn Levy’s Night at the Museum 3 are expected to open Christmas Day 2014.
At the recent New York City press day for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I was able to land an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri. During our wide ranging conversation we discussed turning The Hobbit into three films, how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming and creating worlds digitally, the process of creating an effects-heavy scene, his thoughts on tweaking previous movies effects, how much have they worked on the dragon Smaug, how they didn’t use Miniatures on The Hobbit, and more. In addition, when discussing the next two Hobbit films (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again), Letteri said the biggest task left is to stage the Battle of the Five Armies. In the book, it’s mostly about the dialogue but they are going to make it a big action scene. He also compared the Battle of the Five Armies to the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers.
Hit the jump to watch. And if you missed Letteri talking about Weta’s work for Man of Steel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, and the Avatar sequels., click here.
Although Entertainment Weekly promised a look ahead at next year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in their upcoming collector’s issues, they’re going even further ahead with this new image from 2014′s The Hobbit: There and Back Again. It features a good look at both Luke Evans (The Raven), who plays Bard the Bowman, and Orlando Bloom, who returns as the Elf, Legolas. Bard was mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit but Legolas didn’t turn up until The Lord of the Rings series, so what’s he doing here other than looking all immortal and pretty? Hit the jump to see the full image along with an explanation from the filmmakers.
[Update: A new image from An Unexpected Journey has been released that features Gandalf squaring off against the Goblin King, which is now included after the jump.]
It seems as if pseudo-Conservative talk show pundit and comedian Stephen Colbert may be joining the cast of J.R.R.Tolkien’s beloved characters in Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit trilogy. This is completely unconfirmed and more for fun speculation at this point, but Colbert talked about his visit to The Hobbit set in a recent interview and neither confirmed nor denied a possible cameo. He did confess to being a Tolkien fan, however, and if that enthusiasm proved enough to sway Jackson, there’s already a precedent set for a Colbert cameo. Hit the jump to see what Colbert had to say.
[Update: THR confirms that Colbert will indeed be making a cameo in The Hobbit, but he won't appear in this fall's An Unexpected Journey so keep an eye out for Colbert in The Desolation of Smaug and/or There and Back Again.]
Hugo Weaving is fascinating, as both an actor and a human being. Whether it’s in memorable roles in bigger features (i.e. The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta and The Lord of the Rings trilogy), in smaller character studies or on the stage, he definitely makes an impression. While at the press day for the filmmaking masterpiece Cloud Atlas, where he plays six characters over races, genders and periods of time, Collider was fortunate enough to get to speak to him about his work during an exclusive interview.
While we will run what he had to say about the epic experience of making Cloud Atlas closer to the film’s October 26th theatrical release, we did want to share what he had to say about three other films he’s been involved with – The Hobbit, Transformers and Captain America. During the interview, Weaving said that he only found out that The Hobbit movies would be a trilogy quite recently, that not only has he not been called to voice Megatron for another Transformers movie, but that he’s never actually even met Michael Bay, and that even though he signed a multi-picture contract with Marvel, he doesn’t see Red Skull returning. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Thanks to the upcoming slew of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey merchandise heading our way, we now have our first look at Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel. The character doesn’t appear in J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novel, but back in January, Lilly described Tauriel as a warrior and head of the Elven Guard. “She’s the big shot in the army,” said Lilly. “So she knows how to wield any weapon, but the primary weapons that she uses are a bow and arrow and two daggers. And she’s lethal and deadly.” So basically she sounds like female Legolas. Lilly also added that her character would have a larger role in the second movie, although this was back when there were only two movies. It will be interesting to see how Tauriel gets divided up between Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and There and Back Again.
Hit the jump to check out the image. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 3D on December 14th.
You know a movie is getting close to opening when the studio releases an app. Welcome to Warner Bros.’ “Hobbit Movies,” the official app for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, starting with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The program is chock full of behind-the-scenes media, story information, a ton of character images and production stills and even the famous map of Middle Earth. We’ve wrangled up an image gallery, which features a lot of great looks at the dwarves in the party and the first look at Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) as the Elvish king, Thranduil (and Legolas’ father). Hit the jump to check out the images and to find out where you can download the app.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis, opens December 14th.
The first entry in what is now The Hobbit trilogy is set to hit theaters later this year, but director Peter Jackson is still holding plenty of footage and characters back until the films’ release. One of the main characters that fans have been interested to see onscreen is the Goblin King, and we may now have our first look at Jackson’s grotesque take on the character. The antagonistic role is being played by Barry Humphries in the feature films, and it looks like Jackson may be utilizing quite a few practical effects to bring the creature to life.
Hit the jump to take a look at the images, though be warned that they may very well spoil what the Goblin King looks like. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens on December 14th, 2012, followed by The Desolation of Smaug on December 13th, 2013, and There and Back Again on July 18th, 2014.
We can now confirm that the third installment in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy will open on July 18th, 2014. The film will now be called The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Before you get too confused, the second film has been re-titled, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. No title or release date changes have touched the first film, so, in summation:
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open on December 14th, 2012.
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will open December 13th, 2013.
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again will open July 18th, 2014.
Still with me? Hit the jump for more on The Hobbit shuffle.
We’ve got an odd assortment of images for you to check out today, starting with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas in costume for Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace biopic from director Steven Soderbergh. Douglas stars as the late pianist and vocalist while Damon plays his lover, Scott Thorson. The picture, produced by Jerry Weintraub, will debut on HBO before moving to a theatrical release. The picture also stars Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Debbie Reynolds, and Scott Bakula.
We’ve also got a new shot of Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger) in costume as Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarves in the upcoming The Hobbit trilogy from director Peter Jackson. Hit the jump to check out all the images.
When it was first announced that a feature film iteration of The Hobbit was coming to the big screen, one of the most exciting prospects was the visual interpretation of the dragon Smaug that we’d see on the big screen. The dragon is the main antagonist of the story, and when Guillermo del Toro was developing the adaptation as director he was giddy about designing something audiences had never seen before. As we all know, del Toro left the project due to extensive delays and Peter Jackson is now returning to Middle Earth for a new trilogy.
It’s unknown how much (if any) of del Toro’s designs Jackson will be using, but we do know that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch performed motion-capture for the character and provides the voice. The actor recently spoke briefly about when, exactly, audiences will get to peep the treasure-hoarding dragon. Hit the jump to see what he had to say. Beware, minor spoilers for The Hobbit follow.
When director Peter Jackson touted the high frame rate of 48 frames per second for his upcoming fantasy epic, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we were understandably excited. However, the reality of the technology had the unexpected consequence of looking too real, as if one were standing on set watching a movie being filmed. While Warner Bros. still believes that 48fps is the way of cinematic future, they’re being careful with their first major release by limiting the sites that will screen The Hobbit at the higher frame rate. There is talk of expanding the release of future installments in 48fps dependent on audience reaction. Hit the jump for more.
Last week, I admitted to being among those who become hopelessly caught up in the Olympic Summer Games. One week later and things have taken an unexpected turn for the pathetic as I now find myself legitimately concerned with the “Medal Count”. As if it has any sort of bearing on my own life in any way, shape, and/or form, I’m consistently pulling for the U.S. to overtake China not only in total medals, but also in total Gold medals. In short, whether by virtue of patriotism or just sheer boredom, living vicariously through world-class athletes is what my life has come to.
Sports talk aside, awaiting you on the other end of this week’s Top 5 are brief recaps and links to Steve’s Total Recall video interviews with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and more, the first full trailer for James Bond’s Skyfall, our multi-part interview with the great Guillermo del Toro, the news that The Hobbit will be a trilogy, and all of our Saturn Awards interviews including talks with writer/director Drew Goddard and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
A new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has gone online. As it’s only subtly different from the one that was previously released, folks are referring to this one as The Hobbit 1.1. Regardless, I’ll take any new footage of Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan I can get at this point.
The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, and Stephen Fry. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on December 14, 2012. Hit the jump to check out the new trailer.