This week in EW: We take a deep dive into into The Hobbit, exploring the film’s long, difficult road to the big screen and the critical, sometimes controversial creative decisions director Peter Jackson has made along the way. Precioussssss.
As you might have heard yesterday, next week is The Hobbit Week on The Colbert Report, as Stephen welcomes Sir Ian McKellan on Monday, Martin Freeman on Tuesday, Andy Serkis on Wednesday and Peter Jackson on Thursday. You might know them better by their respective Hobbit characters, Yoda, Voldemort, Sulu and Morpheus.
In the meantime, let’s prepare for the weeklong Tolkien-fest with some classic Middle Earthian moments from The Report. First up, click the gif to watch Stephen put the literary smackdown on fellow LOTR-head James Franco.
This Week’s Cover: ‘The Hobbit’ — plus our annual Comic-Con preview
Teaser Poster(?): The Hobbit
Is there any way this won’t be as good as the ‘LOTR’ trilogy?
Also, Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Peter Jackson giving direction on set.
The filmmaker was admitted to a New Zealand hospital Wednesday night to undergo surgery for a perforated ulcer.
After an extended labor dispute, lots of heated words, two days of talks, and some sweeteners from the government, Peter Jackson’s two-film production of The Hobbit will stay in New Zealand. To keep the film in the country, government officials agreed to introduce legislation to ensure the labor problems won’t flare up again, offset $10 million of Warner Bros.’ marketing costs, and give a tax rebate of up to $7.5 million per film. Now that that’s settled, we return to our regularly scheduled “not hearing very much about New Zealand” programming block. [NYT]
It looks like The Hobbit will most likely not shoot in New Zealand.
Peter Jackson said that preparations were under way to move the production of a two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit” from New Zealand to another country because of a labor dispute with actors’ unions in New Zealand and Australia, The Press of New Zealand reported. In a statement reported by The Press Mr. Jackson, the producer and likely director of the “Hobbit” films, and Fran Walsh, his wife and production partner, said that even a lifting of a ban sought by the actors’ unions would do “nothing to help the film stay in New Zealand.” Mr. Jackson and Ms. Walsh added that “the damage inflicted on our film industry” is “long since done.”
Only an ongoing union dispute in New Zealand now stands between “The Hobbit” and a start date in February
Even though he’s not yet officially signed on to direct The Hobbit movies — which are still waiting for a green light — Peter Jackson is in Los Angeles this week secretly auditioning potential Bilbos for the Shire-based two-parter (after doing the same in New York and the U.K.). The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit says Jackson’s deal is “close to done,” but MGM’s crappy finances continue to hold everything up. Still, the chances that The Hobbitwill be made by anyone who’s not Jackson continue to dwindle. Rejoice, everyone except Brett Ratner!
Peter Jackson meeting with ‘Hobbit’ actors (exclusive) [Heat Vision/HR]
In what amounts to a dream come true for fans of Middle Earth, Peter Jackson has decided to direct two installments of The Hobbit, trusted sources are telling me. His deal is being negotiated right now with Warner Bros , New Line and MGM.
He will shortly take the reins over from Guillermo del Toro, after extricating himself from other project obligations that caused Jackson and manager Ken Kamins to initially deny he would be the director. While Jackson’s camp has been tight-lipped, I’m told that Jackson as director has been part of the discussion in trying to get MGM’s owners to do what is needed to make the back-to-back films possible for an end of the year shoot.