Peter JacksonPeter Jackson sat down with ScifiWire.com to discuss The Hobbit, and a good many of the aspects involved in making the film. Here are some highlights:
Jackson on Guillermo Del Toro Directing The Hobbit:
Guillermo’s there not because I’m a mentor of him, but I just thought he would do a terrific job with that film. It wasn’t the type of movie I [wanted] to give to a young, novice filmmaker and have them sort of godfather it through. I wanted someone who … was established, who I could trust with it. … With The Hobbit, I really don’t want to … be too involved in looking over the shoulder of the director.
With the Lord of the Rings movies I did make, those were the very best films that I could make, given the circumstances and everything else. … I poured my heart and soul into those films, and I just thought that I’d given everything I could to The Lord of the Rings, and now, with The Hobbit, I’d have to go there again, and now I’d be competing against myself. And how did I shoot Hobbiton the first time around? And how did I shoot Gandalf coming through the door? Now I’d have to look back at what I did the first time and do something different. Or not. And suddenly I could just imagine myself having this rather weird year or two where I was relating to my own work in a way in which I didn’t feel comfortable. So I thought that the best thing—and honestly the best thing for the project and the fans of Tolkien and everything else—was to find another filmmaker who would do a really great job, and let them shoot Gandalf coming in the door, and let’s all enjoy what they do with it and give somebody else a chance to do something fresh and original with it.”
On the status of The Hobbit:
We’re about three weeks, I would say—give or take a little tailwind—about three weeks from turning over the first script for the first Hobbit movie to the studio. The process that we’ve been through so far is we wrote—and when I say “we,” it’s the four of us, it’s Guillermo, Philippa, Fran and myself—we wrote an extensive treatment of the two films, which we pitched to the studio on a long conference call, and that was, I guess, about three or four months ago…
There was talk about doing The Hobbit as one movie and doing an in-between-The Hobbit-and-The Lord of the Rings [movie], a bridge movie. … We worked through the storyline, and we thought, “Well, obviously, we could squeeze The Hobbit into one movie,” but even, like, a three-hour movie, you’d be amazed at how much of that story you’d have to lose. It’s weird. I mean, the book … is what the book is, and we just worked through a process of including all the events that we’d like to see in a film, and it was clear that it wasn’t going to fit. Plus, the fact that we want to embellish a few things and put a little bit of extra … narrative in for Gandalf and what he’s doing in Dol Guldur and the Necromancer and various sort of side … stories that are happening. And so we decided really that the two movies we were doing should be The Hobbit part one and part two.
On Casting The Hobbit:
And we haven’t done any casting yet. I mean, that’s the truth. There’s all these rumors about people, but we haven’t offered a single role to any actor yet, because everything’s a process, and we haven’t got a green light, and we haven’t got a budget. And when you make an offer to an actor, one of the things that you have to obviously expect is they’re going to ask to see a script, so we have to wait until we have a script. The other thing that you also need when you offer the role to an actor is you need dates. You need to be able to tell them when you want to start work and when they’re going to finish work and how long they’re going to work for. Because, obviously, an actor’s deal is very much tied to the commitment of work. And so it’s not until we deliver the script that we can break the script down, that we can get a budget, and then once we’ve got a budget we have to get a green light, which we haven’t got.