October 27, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

“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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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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