“Hobbit” cast speaks — Watch the press conference here!


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: It’s a really good time to be a film geek. Almost every superhero under the sun has a film franchise, many of which are being guided by enormously gifted storytellers like Christopher Nolan or Darren Aronofsky. Big screen adaptations of beloved literary properties are underway. And technology puts fans on the front line of the process, opening “doors” that never could have been cracked just a few years ago.

Take Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” for example. There’s no chance any of us could have attended the New Zealand press conference with the full “Hobbit” cast. But thanks to the all-powerful Internet, you can watch all 38 minutes of the press event right here.

Amazing. Omnipresent media has its negatives, but access like this is extremely positive. Heck, even Jackson couldn’t attend due to his recuperation from ulcer surgery. I wonder if he watched the press conference online, as well?

During the press conference, Martin Freeman received the most attention, as his character, Bilbo Baggins, shoulders most of the “Hobbit” load. When asked if he has looked at any of Ian Holm’s work in the first “Lord of the Rings” films, Freeman said, “Obviously I’ve been looking at what he was doing. There’s a certain level, of course, at which I have to match what he was doing and then forget it as well. … Without being either big-headed or falsely modest, I think I’m quite a good match for him.”

Then there was Richard Armitage, who has been cast as Thorin Oakenshield. “My first experience on stage was in a production of The Hobbit at the Alex Theater in Birmingham,” he said. “I played an Elf and Gollum was a papier-mache puppet with a man offstage on a microphone. It’s been in my childhood very prominently, so to come to it as a middle-aged man and have another look at it is a brilliant opportunity.”

“The Hobbit” goes into production next month, and targets a December 2012 release date.

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