April 25, 2014

Tag Archives: The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Ian McKellen comments on “Hobbit,” reveals start date

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: It wasn’t exactly “breaking” news, as “Lord of the Rings” fans no doubt anticipated official announcements long before they came in – but we found out recently that “Rings” veterans Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis will join Peter Jackson as he toils away on a two-part “Hobbit” adaptation.
In addition to reports in The Hollywood Reporter, we now have an official statement from McKellen, which he posted on his Web site. It reads, in full:
All I had to decide was what to do with the time that is given me.
I’m 71 and fit: though at my age who knows what accident is ’round the next corner? For a year or more, I have been arranging my professional commitments around the possibility of The Hobbit films starting at almost anytime. We brought the Waiting for Godot tour of Australia to New Zealand early 2010, assuming I would stay on to start shooting soon after. Then there was yet another delay: but in Wellington I met with Guillermo del Toro and later read his script for Part One, written with the LOTR writing team. It was true to the style, the fun and the romance of the trilogy.
When Peter Jackson, already producing, resumed the director’s chair, he kept me in touch with developments. A second screenplay was sent over, on the understanding that I would not talk about what I read in it.
After the ruckus over trade union expectations and unlikely rumours of filming outside New Zealand, suddenly crucial casting was announced, plus a start date in February 2011. Martin Freeman as Bilbo sounds perfect. As my agent continued to negotiate with Warner Brothers, I kept wondering was Gandalf what I most wanted to do, more than a new play for instance or indeed a new part? Sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals.
Could I let Gandalf go? Would anyone else care if I did? Elsewhere, does anyone care that Michael Gambon was not the first to play Dumbledore?
The deciding negotiation was not about money but about dates. Gandalf is needed on set over the next 18 months but with sizeable breaks when I can work on other projects. My worry that I could not easily escape from Middle Earth was lifted.
I am happy to say I start filming in Wellington on February 21 [...]

Cate Blanchett one of several confirmed for Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Big casting news on the “Hobbit” front, as Warner/New Line has confirmed that Cate Blanchett, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy and Mikael Persbrandt will appear in Peter Jackson’s planned film adaptations.
Here’s the release (via ComingSoon.net):
Cate Blanchett, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy and Mikael Persbrandt have joined the cast of Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic ‘The Hobbit.’ Also joining them are Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy and William Kircher. The films, which are scheduled to commence principal photography in February 2011, mark Jackson’s return to Middle-earth following his Oscar-winning ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. The announcement was made jointly today by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema, Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. and Steve Cooper, co-Chief Executive Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
Jackson, who directed all three ‘Lord of the Rings’ films, will helm the two films back-to-back, telling the story of ‘The Hobbit’ in two parts from a screenplay by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.
Cate Blanchett (‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’) will reprise her role from ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy as Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien. Ken Stott (‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, TV’s ‘Rebus’) will play the Dwarf Lord Balin, Sylvester McCoy (TV’s ‘Doctor Who’) will play the wizard Radagast the Brown and well-known Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt (‘Everlasting Moments’, ‘Day and Night’) will play the shape-shifter Beorn. British actor Ryan Gage (‘Outlaw’, TV’s ‘Doctors’) will play Drogo Baggins, with New Zealand actors Jed Brophy (‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy, ‘District 9′) playing the role of the dwarf Nori, and William Kircher (‘Out of the Blue’; TV’s ‘Legend of the Seeker’) rounding out the company of Thorin Oakensheild in role of the dwarf Bifur.
Peter Jackson welcomed the news of Cate Blanchett’s return to Middle-earth ‘Cate is one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films’ On the casting of Scottish actor Ken Stott, Jackson commented ‘Fran and I have long been fans of Ken’s work and are excited he will be joining us on this journey.’ Jackson also welcomed the addition to the cast of Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt ‘The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him [...]

“The Hobbit” confirmed for 3D, using EPIC cameras

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The Shire will have an added dimension when Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” hits theaters in 2012.
RED Studios Hollywood revealed that the “Lord of the Rings” director will shoot both parts of “The Hobbit” in 3D, and will use the EPIC Digital Cameras.
More from the release (via ComingSoon):
RED announces that Peter Jackson’s two film adaptation of The Hobbit will be shot in 3D using RED DIGITAL CINEMA’S soon to be released EPIC Digital Cameras.
The successor to RED’s industry changing RED ONE, the EPIC has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made. Taking everything they had learned from building their first camera, RED designed the EPIC from scratch and have produced a smaller, lighter camera that is an order of magnitude more powerful.
The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC and at least thirty cameras will be required by the 3-D production. The EPIC’S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D – where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig.
Jackson has a long history with RED, dating back to when he directed the short film ‘Crossing the Line’ as a very early test of prototype RED ONE cameras. “I have always liked the look of Red footage.” he says, “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”
Jim Jannard the owner and founder of RED flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so that Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability. “Everybody at RED is incredibly proud that Peter has chosen the Epic” says Jannard, “The Hobbit is a major production, and could have chosen any camera system that they wanted. [...]

Ian McKellen on being gay and happy with it in Hollywood

By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: Ian McKellan was 49 when he came out publicly as a gay man and has since enjoyed the most successful phase of his acting career.
He’s been a part of two huge blockbuster franchises: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘X-Men,’ earned two Academy Award nominations (for ‘Gods and Monsters’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’).
He’s in an excellent position to talk about being an out actor in Hollywood and he did just that recently with Popeater. Here are some excerpts:
On closeted actors: “If you’re going around telling a lie you may get by but you won’t be half as happy as you would be if you came out. If that means you have to give up hopes of being one of the three or four young sex symbols in Hollywood so be it. You probably weren’t going to be one of those anyway. That happens by chance and it doesn’t last for very long.”
To read more go to GregInHollywood.com.
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“Hobbit” adds two more actors, yet Sir Ian McKellen remains unsigned

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Cast members continue to be added to Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” production while one key player has yet to enter into a contract.
Before we get to the absentee star, let’s touch on those we know will be part of “The Hobbit” when it reaches theaters in 2012. Jackson announced via TheOneRing.net that James Nesbitt and Adam Brown have joined the cast as dwarves Bofur and Ori, respectively.
“James’s charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles,” Jackson said.
As for Brown, a relative newcomer, the director stated, “Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life.”
Nesbitt and Brown join previously announced cast member Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky Stephen Hunter, and Peter Hambleton.
Can you tell me who is missing from that list? If you guessed Sir Ian McKellen, give yourself a gold star.
In a story about the recent casting notes, the Hollywood Reporter stated that McKellen – who played Gandalf in all three of Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films and is expected to play a major part in the two “Hobbit” adventures – recently told Broadway World that he has yet to sign a contract to return to the fantasy franchise.
“I am not under contract, no,” McKellen said in the interview. “I’m not going to say any more than that because it might complicate things! So, I would say – at the moment – no, I am not under contract.”
Expect that to be resolved before “Hobbit” begins shooting, though. Would the films be the same if they had to recast Gandalf? Let us know.
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“Hobbit law” passes, changes New Zealand legislation for Peter Jackson

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: New Zealand’s Parliament officially closed the books on the labor dispute that almost shut Peter Jackson and his crew out of the country, passing what has come to be known as the “Hobbit law” on Friday morning by the vote of 66-50.
The vote amended an existing law to now say that that film workers employed as independent contractors “cannot also claim to be employees,” according to Variety. The problem stems from issues that surfaced during Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” shoots, where contract employees tried to claim a different work status.
From here on out, the only “Hobbit” stories we should be relaying will have to do with casting, production, editing and theatrical release. Right? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Jackson will begin filming “The Hobbit” in February, with an eye on release dates in 2012 and 2013.
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Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” staying in New Zealand, PM reports

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Peter Jackson’s Shire isn’t going anywhere.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced today that, after days of negotiations, “The Hobbit” will film in New Zealand after all.
“I’m pleased to announce an agreement has been reached between the New Zealand Government and Warner Brothers to enable the two ‘Hobbit’ movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson, to be made New Zealand,” Key said, according to 3 News in New Zealand. “Making the two movies here will not only safe guard work for thousands of New Zealanders but will also allow us to follow the success of the ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy and once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage.”
In addition, 3 News reports that New Zealand will host one of the “Hobbit” world premieres.
The movie is expected to begin filming in February. Martin Freeman has been cast in the film in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins. Sir Ian McKellen is expected to reprise his role of Gandalf. The first “Hobbit” will be in theaters in 2012.
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Thousands of “Hobbit” fans rally in New Zealand

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Jon Stewart can have his “Rally to Restore Sanity.” We’d rather attend the rallies to retain “The Hobbit” that are going on today in New Zealand.
Thousands of fervent supporters – some dressed as characters from the “Lord of the Rings” universe – reportedly have taken to the streets to lobby for Peter Jackson and his crew to remain in New Zealand when they begin filming “The Hobbit,” according to Reuters.
The rallies are timed to the arrival of Warner Bros. executives who are expected to arrive in New Zealand and determine if its economically feasible for the studio to film the two “Hobbit” installments in the country. Prime Minister John Key told reporters he thought New Zealand has “a 50-50 chance” of retaining Team Hobbit.
“I’d love to tell you it’s a done deal, but we’re a long way away from being a done deal. There are a number of issues that we’d need to resolve,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
Where would “The Hobbit” go? Warner Bros. reportedly is considering England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia or eastern Europe. But in a letter read to gathered supporters, Jackson admitted, “This is where Middle Earth was born and this is where it will stay.”
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Why Peter Jackson directing ‘The Hobbit’ may not be so positive

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: I’ve been down this road before, but now that it’s official, it’s worth repeating. After years of speculation and attempted pawn-offs, Peter Jackson is in fact directing “The Hobbit.” As of yesterday, MGM and Warner Bros. have reached a deal to fund two films based on “The Hobbit” at an absurd cost of $500 million. First of all, at $250 million apiece, each film will basically have to perform like “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” just to break even. Each film will basically cost what the first two “Lord of the Rings” films cost combined, and the whole two-film project will cost around $100 million more than the original three films cost back in 2001-2003. I suppose this is exciting news for the hardcore fans of the original series, as well as JRR Tolkien fans in general. While I firmly believe that the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is the most impressive film achievement of the just-finished decade, I can’t help feeling a little depressed at the news. This isn’t a case of Peter Jackson returning in glory to a franchise that made him a legend. This truly feels like a case of Peter Jackson, unfairly marginalized because of one wrongly-lambasted box office smash (“King Kong”) and one genuine misfire (“The Lovely Bones”), begrudgingly returning to Middle Earth because he had no where left to go.
Even as a prequel defender, there is no doubt that the Star Wars prequel trilogy would have been better had George Lucas actually had any successes post-Return of the Jedi outside of the Indiana Jones series. Had Howard the Duck, Willow, The Radioland Murders, etc actually been critical and commercial successes, Lucas’s plunging back into the “Star Wars” universe would have been a triumphant return rather than a resigned escape. Does anyone think that Ghostbusters III isn’t going to be a depressing grasp for former glory from Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman, and whomever else is coerced into coming back? Despite occasional threats of a return, does anyone truly think that Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi can recapture the seat-of-their-pants dazzle of the first two Evil Dead pictures with a fourth film nearly twenty years after Army of Darkness? And does anyone really believe that Ridley Scott would be helming an Alien prequel if Kingdom of Heaven, Body of Lies, Robin Hood, Matchstick Men, and/or A Good [...]

Decision on Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” could arrive next week

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Though production on “The Hobbit,” an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s award-winning novel, remains mired in labor disputes and red ink, a positive break could be on the horizon.
A spokesperson for Peter Jackson was quoted in the New Zealand Herald this morning and said a decision regarding the production staying in the country where Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed could come as soon as next week.
“Warner Brothers are running financial models about the costs of shooting in a variety of countries,” the spokesperson said. “We expect a decision is still a week or two away.”
This comes on the heels of the news that a separate meeting was conducted between The Screen Production and Development Association, Actors’ Equity, and Council of Trade Unions representatives to ensure that New Zealand remains an attractive location for Hollywood productions. While the meeting wasn’t called for “The Hobbit,” specifically, it is reported that the film was discussed.
Does anyone doubt that this will happen? It all seems like a stall so that more people can dip their hands into what’s sure to be a profitable pot. Expect this situation to be resolved shortly, with Jackson in the director’s chair for two “Hobbit” films.
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