Benedict Cumberbatch Talks About Preparing to Play Smaug in THE HOBBIT Using Motion-Capture; Says He Starts Filming in January

by     Posted 2 years, 334 days ago

Benedict Cumberbatch Smaug THE HOBBIT interview slice

While fans’ patience was tested during the ups and downs of development on The Hobbit, production is now finally underway in New Zealand with our loyal Middle Earth captain Peter Jackson at the helm. While Jackson has been posting production diaries from the set (and will continue to do so throughout the year-long shoot), one of the biggest questions is what Jackson’s version of the dragon Smaug will be like. For those unfamiliar, Smaug is the main antagonist in the story of Bilbo’s adventure. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) signed on to portray the dragon, and Steve recently got the chance to speak with Cumberbatch as part of the press day for the thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Cumberbatch talked about his approach to Smaug, who he’s not only voicing but will also be physicalizing through the use of motion-capture. While he doesn’t head down to New Zealand until January, Cumberbatch talked about how he’s preparing for the character and how excited he is to join the production. Hit the jump to check out the interview.

Here’s the transcript of the portion of the interview where Cumberbatch talked about The Hobbit. We’ll have the full conversation available soon.

Collider: So what’s it like to voice Smaug in The Hobbit?

Cumberbatch:  I’m playing Smaug, I mean I’m physicalizing him as a dragon I’m not just doing the voiceover, so it’ll be a physical role which I’m no stranger to. I did Frankenstein at the beginning of the year with Danny Boyle at the National Theater and playing the creature in that was a very full on and sort of corporeal experience. I can’t wait, but the conversations have yet to start really in earnest because they’ve been doing the first film and I’ve been doing the second series of Sherlock and another series which I’m working on now called Parade’s End for HBO and BBC with Tom Stoppard, and Rebecca Hall co-starring, so it’s a world away but come a month’s time we’ll start conversations probably like you and I are having down the line. I’ve already started working out and doing various movement exercises to get myself limber for that all-important jump suit with balls on it, otherwise known as motion-capture. But I can’t wait, I’m really excited. I go to film it in January.


Like Us


FB Comments

  • Heather

    Great to see Benedict’s new interview. Looking forward to the full interview on Tinker Tailor!

  • Pingback: McKenzie Talks Lindir & Cumberbatch Talks Smaug | Middle-earth News

  • fan

    Greatest actor of his generation and I cant wait for more people to get to know his work. His work as Van Gogh in Van Gogh painted with words is extraordinary.

  • Smaugette

    It’s the National THEATRE not THEATER.

    And BAUBLES not BALLS.

    • Mr. Me

      Hear, hear!

      (That being said, I am tremendously excited to see The Hobbit movies!)

  • Pingback: Smaug der Drache wird ab nächstem Jahr vor der Kamera stehen - Der Hobbit, Hobbit Film und Herr der Ringe Verfilmung und Tolkien

  • Chicho

    Am I the only one that noticed the major spoiler here?? that smaug will only be seen in the 2nd film? I was hoping that they end the 1st film by defeating smaug and do the battle of 5 armies as well as the the contents of the red book of westmarch in the second film. But cause of the spoiler, the 1st film will probably end at the foot of the lonely mountain . Oh well … Cant wait to see this film though.

    • Aiden Rush

      I always imagined the end of the first film as the company leaving Beorn’s house and heading into Mirkwood.

      • Chicho

        The 1st film might not have enough action if you leave mirkwood out. Cause aside from the spiders of mirkwood, we will only have the goblin cave as the major action sequence of the 1st film. That might not be enough. Because nothing much happens in beorn’s hall. My best bet is that aside from the goblin cave, they will add mirkwood to solidify the 1st film. Once out of the woods, they will see the lonely mountain and the end credits will follow

  • sarah

    I was hoping Cumberbatch was in both films. Disappointed.

    Sensational actor. Ive loved everything he’s been in and it was a huge thrill to see him live of stage in Frankenstein.

    Fingers crossed the Marvel rumours are true and he’ll play Dr Strange or Ant Man.

    • Celia

      You got to see Ben ON STAGE (!) ? I am green with envy and could now play Smaug myself.

      So how wonderful was he (dumb question) & which role did he play that night ?

  • helen

    I hope Peter Jackson shows some behind the scenes videos of Cumberbatch working on this role. It would be fascinating to see. Ian McKellan saw Cumberbatch’s audtion piece and said it was amazing.

  • Pingback: Benedict Cumberbatch comenta sobre a sua preparação para viver Smaug em O Hobbit |

  • Pingback: Smaug e o elfo Lindir falam sobre O Hobbit

  • Pingback: Smaug e o elfo Lindir falam sobre O Hobbit

  • Chris

    Can’t wait to see Benedict as Smaug! He’s a fantastic actor and voice actor too, from the audiobooks and radioplays I’ve heard.

    I seem to be the only one who can’t see the video? I only get the Hugo preview, and then it stops. Very frustrating! :/

  • Pingback: Benedict Cumberbatch Fan + your stop for everything on benedict

  • kyoko


    私の知る俳優の中で 彼が一番 魅力的です

    日本 新潟より 

  • Pingback: SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 122 – Our Interview with Steve H. Wilson (Author of the Arbiter Chronicles, Producer of Prometheus Radio Theatre, and Con Man)

  • Concerned netizen

    The mistranscription of “baubles” into “balls” infuriates me.

  • Pingback: 22nd November, 2011 | Richard Armitage Central

Click Here