I think it’s fair to say that the Lord of the Rings movies played a crucial part in the cinematic upbringing of just about everyone born in the past 20 years. I myself watched these movies obsessively growing up, and without them (and the original Star Wars trilogy – a close second in terms of times viewed) I guarantee you I would not be the person I am today. That’s right – I love these movies that much!
With Part I of The Hobbit hitting theaters this December, we are already seeing a sharp spike in nerdiness among the everyday populace. It didn’t really hit me until I saw Peter Jackson enter the room and sit down for the panel discussion. By this point in the week I had seen my share of celebrities, but this was different. This was the first time I was in the presence of someone I idolized. I fumbled around in my backpack and pulled out paper and a pen, furiously scribbling down potential questions to ask him, even as the panel began and other reporters’ hands began to fly up in the air.
I have noticed over the past couple days that most interviewees have a tendency to address the entire audience when answering a question, instead of the person who asked it. I guess it’s understandable, but I think it says a lot about a person who will actually maintain eye contact. Peter Jackson is one such exception to the rule, and I respect him so much more for it. He gave direct, detailed answers to the questions asked and looked right at you the whole time.
Jackson talked about the transition from shooting at 24 fps (frames per second) to 48 fps and his hopes that it will create a more immersive viewing experience. He told us that he would be incorporating material from The Silmarillion (Tolkien’s other novel about Middle Earth) into the film to clear up some of the parts that were never fully explained in the original Hobbit novel. He told us that he tried to balance between the seriousness of the LOTR‘s books and the more playful tone of The Hobbit, which was originally meant for children.
Ian Mckellan was excited that many of the younger fans, who had only seen the LOTR‘s trilogy in their homes, would be able to see Middle Earth on a big screen for the first time. He chuckled a little when asked if playing a younger Gandalf would change his performance, and replied that 60 years doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re 4,000 years old. Andy Serkis talked about the advances in technology on the Gollum character and expressed gratitude to Jackson for making him 2nd Unit Director on the film. He believes that the time he spent working on LOTR’s with Jackson has prepared him for the job and given him a firm understanding of Jackson’s vision.
Having previously portrayed Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Martin Freeman was asked to compare playing Bilbo Baggins, another beloved character. He says that while the stories are very different, the two characters he plays are similar, as they are both just everyday people in extreme situations.
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