Production Officially Begins on Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT; Plus Two New Images and the Official Synopsis

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Though the two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit has been fraught with delays and difficulties, Warner Bros. has announced that production has finally started.  There were concerns that The Hobbit would leave New Zealand due to a labor strike, but the 3D movies will indeed be shot consecutively against the familiar backdrops from The Lord of the Rings.  As a prequel to the award-winning trilogy, The Hobbit takes place in Middle-earth 60 years prior to Frodo receiving The Ring. Instead, the two-part adaptation will follow Frodo’s Uncle Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he is swept up in a quest of his own.

Hit the jump for the full press release, synopsis and two production images.

The-Hobbit-Peter-Jackson-imageAlong with the new comers cast in The Hobbit, some recognizable faces from The Lord of the Rings trilogy will be returning. Ian McKellen will reprise his role as Gandalf the Grey, Cate Blanchett will return as Galadriel, Andy Serkis will once again don the mocap suit to play Gollum and Elijah Wood will briefly appear as Frodo.  If you still haven’t seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you’re in luck! An extended edition of all three films should be available on Blu-ray later this year.  Now that production is rolling, we will bring you more updates as we get them.

The Hobbit is set for release in 3D in December 2012 and December 2013. The two new photos via Peter Jackson’s Facebook.

Wellington, NZ, March 21, 2011—Production has commenced in Wellington, New Zealand, on “The Hobbit,” filmmaker Peter Jackson’s two film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s widely read masterpiece.

“The Hobbit” is set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The two films, with screenplays by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, will be shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming will take place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

The-Hobbit-Peter-Jackson-image“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.

Martin Freeman takes the title role as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns in the role of Gandalf the Grey. The Dwarves are played by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ken Stott (Balin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), William Kircher (Bifur) James Nesbitt (Bofur), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Rob Kazinsky (Fili), Aidan Turner (Kili), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), John Callen (Oin), Jed Brophy (Nori), Mark Hadlow (Dori) and Adam Brown (Ori). Reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Elijah Wood as Frodo. Jeffrey Thomas and Mike Mizrahi also join the cast as Dwarf Kings Thror and Thrain, respectively. Further casting announcements are expected.

“The Hobbit” is produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, alongside Carolynne Cunningham. Executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens as co-producer. The Oscar-winning, critically acclaimed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, also from the production team of Jackson and Walsh, grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office. In 2003, “The Return of the King” swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture – the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The trilogy’s production was also unprecedented at the time.

Among the creative behind-the-scenes team returning to Jackson’s crew are director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, composer Howard Shore and make-up and hair designer Peter King. Costumes are designed by Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor.

Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of weaponry, armour and prosthetics which are once again being made by the award winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital take on the visual effects for both films, led by the film’s visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. Post production will take place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

“The Hobbit” films are co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM. The two films are planned for release in late 2012 and 2013, respectively.

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  • Al

    It appears that not even Sauron himself could stop this movie from getting made and I for one am grateful. Lets all hope Christopher Lee can make it through production.

  • Kenny B

    How Peter Jackson Got His Groove Back

    He looks relieved

  • you know you thought it

    The Lord of the Rings movies are racist. I feel sorry for the asian, black and etc. children all over the world who’ve watched the thousands of actors and extras in those movies and don’t see anyone who looks like them. I’M COMPLETELY AWARE THAT THE MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN A EUROPEAN WORLD IN THE BOOKS. BUT, in the movies everyone is talking about saving ALL OF MANKIND. NOT ALL OF EUROPE OR KNOWN EUROPE! AGAIN FOR THE IDIOTIC PEOPLE WHO WILL BLINDLY DEFEND THE MOVIES, “ALL OF MANKIND ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FIGHTING.” Yet, all we see are white people. That is a contradiction! Would it kill him to make at least one of the Elves any race except for white. Return of the King was a great movie, and it would probably be the #1 movie of all time had Peter Jackson not been a racist. Oh, and having a token black guy in King Kong doesn’t count. We will always have James Cameron who will represent all the races in his epic movies.

    • Troll in the Dungeon

      the men from the east are middle eastern and one of the elephant drivers in the minas tirith battle in return of the king is clearly a black or at least a maori man(I mean it’s not a multicultural fair but that’s not what middle earth is) so you should check your facts before you go trolling around the internet.

    • Brendan McAteer

      Can we not just alk about this movie rather than have to listen to people get all over the top political on it. No sense to have a black or Asian dwarf or Hobbit. These books were written 80 years ago by an English man who based his ideas around country time england. Do you hear me complaining about Tyler Perry or Martin Lawrence or Chreis Rock when they are being abusive to whites…..no. Get over it

    • wev

      What a sad and stupid person you are!

    • CylonRyder

      They should cast u as a damn troll!

    • Wolstenholme

      Everyone says it’s a taboo topic since we enslaved the blacks and native americans when you first came to this country but seriously shut the f*ck up…this is a prime example of reverse racism…that’s like starting a petition to get a white guy to play Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X…it’s just the way it is so stop bitching

    • Jedi Joe

      Not a single one of you proved him wrong in your debate. I do recall that they said in TLOR that the “World of man” was threatened to come to an end. Hence the word, “World” of man which mean’s all human beings. It is not specificly talking about one kind of man/one race. Therefore, their should be other races involved. As I recall there are no Elves in Europe, so why aren’t there Japanese or black Elves. Some other moron mentioned the men of the East who looked white to me. Someone wrote, “Do you hear me complaining about Tyler Perry or Martin Lawrence or Chris Rock when they are being abusive to whites…..no. Get over it “ A. They are comedians that are joking, just like Bill Maher makes race jokes but everyone knows he’s for minorities. B. Blacks are still in the minority C. Even if they are wrong, two wrongs don’t make a right and your mere statement says that you are a racist! I was against what “you know you thought” said at first but after reading all the illogical and racist people’s reactions to the fact that he did say that in TLOR all of mankind was supposed to be fighting and not a single one of you proved him wrong with a rational point. I’m starting to believe that P.J. Is a racist, who needs to make it right in the Hobbit.

      • Hmmm

        If you guys want to argue that Tolkien might’ve been a racist that’s a real Debate.

        Bringing in Peter in this is stupid, or at least very very belligerent. Fighting just for fighting.

        The point is, Peter made this movie based on a novel that doesn’t describe people of other human races in the books. And to put black, asian and other races in movie, that features as story not focusing on them using the argument that he says “the world of men” as a reason to say he is racist is very ignorant.

        WORLD of man doesnt mean WORLD as in PLANET of men.
        World of Men, as in WORLD OF MEN OF MIDDLE EARTH, men of Gondor, Men of Rohan, men of the North.

        You guys should take basic text interpretation lessons. Not everything is literal.
        Lord of the Rings is THE most beloved Fantasy novel ever written, and fans are very very very purist. To make Black, Asian, or what ever other race, elves, dwarves or men would impact the feel of the movie and collide with the way people imagined the Books, which is Set in a European-like setting.

        Pushing the envelope on this would be like Claiming every samurai movie should have Black and Blonde Samurai, or a movie set in pre-colonial Africa should have White Zulus on it, because IF ANY of them cite the expression “WORLD OF MEN” it should include everybody.

        Don’t be idiot paladins. Racism is real, and no one doubts it exists in a lot of layers of society and in varied degrees…But to say PETER JACKSON one of the nicest dudes in the PLANET is racist because he didn’t have Black or Asian Elves and Men in his movies, is sigining your STUPIDITY diploma.

    • Lame Duck

      As an African American man, I DON’T want to see any blacks, Asians, or any other race but Europeans in The Hobbit because that’s these very essence of what those stories are about. And for the record there were blacks and Asians in the Lord of the Kings trilogy, some actors were in orc costumes, some were the wicked men of the east if you actually looked at the documentary. Stop being so racially sensitive! That’s like complaining that there weren’t any whites in the Shaka Zulu movie or in Roots when we all know those movies weren’t about whites nor were they in Africa at that time. Middle Earth is inhabited by European cultures as clearly expressed in J.R. Tolkien novels/drawings. That’s how it is, and that’s how it should be portrayed on film.

      • George

        You are not a black man and if you are than you are an uncle-tom idiot who can’t wait to say, “yes sir, I’ll pick the cotton.” Yes, we did look at the documentary and their were blacks hidden behind the scenes on the production. Just like Chinese built the railroads for the white man while the white man spit on them. But, there are no other ethnicity to be seen in the actual trilogy-movies themselves.

        The lord of the rings talked about saving all of mankind which means beyond a European world. Yet no other races were in it. Peter Jackson is a racist and so are the one or two people defending him.

      • Ringbearer1420

        If you think Tolkien’s a racist I think you dont know fuck all about Tolkien.

    • fess

      omfg……. the amount of stupididy in that post is stagering….. holy shit man. Peter jacksom a rasist loool. Its a fantacy movie and have you even seen the behind the scenes stuff on the dvd/BR? what about all the native new zealand people playing orcs and what not? and to put the record….stop the rasist slurs…… he/they cast the actors who can play the roles the best way possible……rasist my ass…idiot. And all the others who agree with this idiot….idiots….Wolstenholme im with ya :-)

  • Just saying

    Japanese child a year or so from know, “My Mommy, Daddy and all my Japanese relatives were washed away. I’m going to the movies to try and escape. Let’s see The Hobbit.” At the movies the poor child says to himself, “OMG, Peter Jackson also washed all of the Japanese away in his movies as well.” *crying*

    • excpired

      It wouldn’t make sense to have a random asian or black in the movie, Middle Earth is a continent that is going to have a single colored race. Middle Earth is NOT Europe and is not part of this world.

      It isn’t as if the guy took a book that clearly talks about Asians like say Hiroshima and then made it a movie filled with only white people.

      Not everything is about race you jack-wads, you know I never see anyone complaining when you turn on BET and never see a white person or an Asian person in the black movies. Now get over yourselves, having a random black hobbit would make no sense.

      Also I don’t see whats wrong with having a country produce a movie (NZ) that is primarily filled with white people and expect them to put other colored people in their film just to promote multi-culturalism. This white guilt shit is really getting annoying, you don’t fix racism and disparity by over-compensating. You agree to treat each others as EQUALS plain and simple. The sooner people can look past the color of our skins and look at the culture and values of the other person the better off we will be.

  • Millisand Desuza

    We wish the best for this new production. Hope this new will be a big hit.
    http://leanhcg.org

  • Migz13

    I’m relieved this is going to happen after all those years waiting in development limbo.

  • Nick Reynolds

    BOOM!

  • George

    At hmm, we know exactly what the Elve Queen is talking about when she says “World of Men” You would have to be an idiot to not understand that she is talking about all men on the planet. Oh, wait you are an idiot. It sounds like you need to take common sense lessons. :) You then said, “To make Black, Asian, or what ever other race, elves, dwarves or men would impact the feel of the movie and collide with the way people imagined the Books” You do realize that this sounds like what a KKK member would say. Umm, are you going to say, “White power next.”

    There is something called director’s perspective, I believe it was Spielberg who mentioned that term. It means that a director will bring his views upon a book or script being made into a movie. It doesn’t matter if Tolkien was a racist or not, what is on screen ULTIMATELY is Peter Jackson’s vision and his vision is racist.

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  • Wladi

    I f you complain about movies and all because there are not black ppl, I wonder why all of u black ppl who live in USA, Europe and the rest of the world just return to Africa?…oh, I forgot it, Africa is impoverished third world and they are killing each other and at war all the time so lets stay where u are and complain calling racist to the whities…

  • Hmmm

    Get your head out of your ass George. White people don’t expect african or other black authors, asian authors or middle-eastern authors to populate their stories and novels with White characters just because it’s politically sensitive. If they are included, cool! If they are not, well no problem either.

    Forcing the issue is silly. There are plenty of modern fantasy settings now a days that have a myriad of races included equally.

    In stuff like Lord of the Rings the director’s perspective shouldn’t dominate work that is so well developed on its own. Specially when the movie is being made to realize FAN’s dreams. Not Jackson’s.

    In that same context, 1000 Nights is totally racist. I don’t see one Blonde, blue eyed man in there.
    Legend of the 5 Rings ? Totally racist. Where’s my angolan samurai ? Or a Scottish Ginger shogun ?

    I have White, Jewish, Black and Indian (Native Brazilian) blood in my family. And this doesn’t offend me in the least. And i know that tolkien had somewhat controversial views on jews, on which he sort of based the Dwarves on.

    If you want to say Tolkien was racist, you’d have a point.
    Now imagine if you want to direct a War of the Roses movie, and you want all the Tudor branch to be Black, just to include them and be politically sensitve.
    Ok, you can definately do it just for the sake of interpretation.
    But it wouldn’t make sense.

    So why go that way ?
    What does it benefit Black, Asian, Eastern people to have them see themselves in Lord of the Rings when all those cultures have stories of their own to tell without having to forcefully include themselves on tales from other cultures ?

    So what if an Asian kid doesn’t see anyone to identify himself with any character in Lord of the Rings, in racial parameters.
    He can still identify in character, attitudes, feelings, temperament and a ton of other things other than RACE.

    A concept that now a days shouldn’t be important anymore.
    I love samurai stories, movies and books, and i am jewish myself, and i identify with the books with many ways, in terms of what i like and what in the way i see myself.
    I don’t need to see a samurai wearing tallit and yarmulke to identify with the movie.

    How’s that for common sense ?
    Let the hate go mate.
    It’s a good movie with a cool message, don’t let politics and other dumb shit like that get in the way of entertainment.

    • BPSwanky

      I’m with you Hmmmm….increase the peace!

      As a black man (and yes, I am a black) the whole argument seems foolish to me. As a Lord of the Rings fan of many years, it seems based a really shaky logic. Really take a look at that map in the Lord of the Rings movies when you get a chance, naysayers. Middle Earth is just one continent, and this whole story takes place in only a handful of kingdoms. Even if the threat is against “the world of men,” it’s not fought by all men. There are other cultures mentioned in the text that never take part in the war. There are cultures that have been dead and gone for a millennium by the time the story takes place.

      Just because a story only includes the culture that took part in the event, does it make it any less poignant or stirring. Or any less HUMAN, for that matter.

      I would never discount a story like this, or any, because you don’t see a face like yours in it. I love these movies, but I also love movies like Throne of Blood, Shaka Zulu, The Whale Rider, and Dr. Zhivago as well. Each of these films is about one culture and events that take place in a specific place and time. Watching it opens your eyes to something different than your own narrow few of reality and opens you up to the depth of human experience. The same can be said of a fantasy story that takes place in a made up country.

      People…..think before you type. Spare us all your ignorance.

    • Robert

      The only person with there head up there rear is you. You offered no factual points that disproves that the trilogy is not racist. How did you graduate High School? The point those guys said over and over and over again is that those movies said, “The world of man.” Which implies all of mankind. It is understandable of that a movie set in Ireland might have all Caucasian people in it. But, it makes no sense for those movies. You’re a racist.

      • BPSwanky

        Robert – How old are you really? You sound like a petulant 8 year old. Get your facts straight. It you take World War II as an example, did every culture of man participate in that war? No. I’m not trying to read into J.R.R. Tolkiens logic, but you can tell from the stories of the Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales that the world he created was much, much bigger than the kingdoms from LOTR. His story was about just he cultures that you meet in that part of the world, and not all of them.

        If you start nickle and diming fantasy stories like this, you have to show that same critical eye to all of them. Star Wars, full of goose-stepping Nazi’s. Dune, a jihadist’s wet dream. Every writer make his story from his own cultural viewpoint. The alter it is not only foolish, but artistically reprehensible.

        Done. Idiot.

    • Robert

      My previous message was directed toward that idiot Hmmmm. Congradulations you have even bigger loser-idiots on your side like Wladi. As for you Wladi, you are trailer trash that bags my groceries. Unless you where born here as a native American than why don’t you go back to your country and shut up.

      • Lame Duck

        Okay so according to you (who keeps hiding behind different screen names) I’m a uncle tom (but oddly enough I love my African heritage). According to you I’m a total sell out because I want to see the Hobbit pertain to the books book which didn’t mention any black Orcs, trolls, elves, and hobbits whatsoever. And this makes Peter Jackson racist how? Did you watch District 9 you imbecile? The ONLY person insulting anyone is you. You came on here, played the race card when it didn’t even need to be played, and stirred up white racial slurs when everyone else before you was talking about a subject RELATED TO THE ARTICLE. Yes I’m black, and yes there are ignorant bruthas like you which makes me want to bar all of my ignorant counter like you parts from posting. As I have said many times before, this is Collider, not CNN.

  • Robert

    Oops ignore the typos, arrogant losers made me type to fast. I have a life. lol

    • Cori

      I’m guessing this part of your life is considered the ‘boring’ part as you are replying to these ‘arrogant losers’?

      Also, I deal with (using your term) arrogant losers daily…yet my spelling has yet to actually fail.

      All in all, you’re probably not helping your cause.

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  • Kenny B

    Racism, who gives a shit.

    Sure there’s racists out there, but 90% of people don’t give a fuck. Who doesn’t like a good racist joke? Why are stereotypes so funny? We’re all naturally inclined to want to stick with “your”, or “our” people.

    Look at history, as humans: we’re pretty damned racist. For Christ sake, we had slavery in THE USA 150 years ago. fucking slaves. Not to mention all the wars, genocides, purges, internment camps…………

    So take your equal opportunistic banter elsewhere. Your the Tea Party of posters. Good intentions, but your an idiot.

    • Lame Duck

      well said, and this is coming from a black man.

  • khyan wud

    i have read this Peter Jackson’s quita and he can give the good performer’s and i seen his wonderful work. and he will have do the well working with this.and i am big fan for him.

    http://superprobioticsite.com/

  • eragon

    There and back again

  • kyle

    3D?! F*****CK!

    When will the madness stop?!

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  • Voortrekker

    LORD OF THE RINGS movies are blatantly racist – and I say that as a white man. I enjoyed them, but if I weren’t white I’d feel uncomfortable. There are a lot of racist subtexts: check out the death scene of Boromir, for one.
    And so what? Maybe whites need a bit more solidarity and tribal awareness.

  • Amazigh

    certainly like your web-site but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I will definitely come again again.

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  • Jeez.

    ‘The Lord of the Rings movies are racist. I feel sorry for the asian, black and etc. children all over the world who’ve watched the thousands of actors and extras in those movies and don’t see anyone who looks like them.’
    Let me ask you a question. When you watch a movie, are you thinking about who looks like you? No. You’re thinking about the storyline. I highly, highly doubt that any Asian child comes into his mom’s kitchen and complains that he didn’t see any body that looked like him in LoTR.

    ‘I’M COMPLETELY AWARE THAT THE MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN A EUROPEAN WORLD IN THE BOOKS. BUT, in the movies everyone is talking about saving ALL OF MANKIND. NOT ALL OF EUROPE OR KNOWN EUROPE! AGAIN FOR THE IDIOTIC PEOPLE WHO WILL BLINDLY DEFEND THE MOVIES, “ALL OF MANKIND ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FIGHTING.”’
    No, the movies/books didn’t take place in a Euro world. They took place in a fantasy world, namely, Middle-Earth. And please, please, read the books. Tolkien hardly EVER mentions whether or no they are black. And um, ‘the movies take place in a European world in the books.” To anyone who’s even watched the movies, that is plainly, laughably ridiculous.

    ‘Yet, all we see are white people. That is a contradiction! Would it kill him to make at least one of the Elves any race except for white. ‘
    Notice, all we see are white people. Suure. Imagine an Asian Legolas, or a Black Gimli. That would completely ruin the imagery, and frankly, I think black would go best for the hobbits. Call me a racist, I’m Black myself. And I wholeheartedly agree that it would destroy the movies to make the Elves Black. Galadriel, Arwen, Elrond-all ethereal and majestic. Gold and white are perfect for them.
    Now please pull your head out of that hole and do some research.

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