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

     November 21, 2011

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.

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