Movie News

An Unexpected Journey: Quint on the set of The Hobbit Part 3 – Beginnings and Endings

Published at: Nov. 14, 2011, 2:57 a.m. CST by quint

Welcome to the third and final Hobbit article focusing on the Matamata (Hobbiton) section of the big location shoot as The Hobbit crew moves all around New Zealand.

Main unit spent 5 days in Matamata with second unit getting aerial and pick-up shots after the circus moved on to the next location.

 

 

In true movie magic form we ended our second to last day with a big shot of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins hauling ass out of Hobbiton, chasing down the dwarves, and began our final day with Mr. Baggins returning to The Shire as his grand adventure comes to a close.

The beginning and the end within one 24 hour period.

I’ve gone ahead and put a spoiler warning on this article and while I do touch upon the end of the second movie here I don’t consider it a radical spoiler. For one, it’s in the book and for two, if you’ve seen LOTR you know that Bilbo makes it back to The Shire. I am conscious of keeping some of the surprises for the film, so I’ll be delicate with spoilers in these pieces, but this one shouldn’t be a shocker to anybody who has seen the original LOTR films.

Matamata was gray, the bright blue skies of the previous days gone. That didn’t put much of a damper on the look of the actual landscape, though.

Speaking of, after my first report I received a lot of feedback from people who have either visited or plan to visit Matamata. It’s probably the most accessible, recognizable location to visit from Jackson’s Middle Earth and it seems like future generations of Tolkien and LOTR fans will have an even better experience when they stop by for a visit.

I cornered production designer Dan Hennah to discuss the rebuilding of Hobbiton, which was quite a task. They’ve been at it since January of 2009, back when Guillermo del Toro was still directing and they thought they were going to be shooting in 2010.

 

 

The centerpiece of Hobbiton (and also the main reason this location was picked some 13 years ago) is the Party Tree and when Dan Hennah and crew showed up to begin the process of resurrecting Hobbiton they found the Party Tree was in dire condition. Limbs were falling off and leaves were dying thanks to a very bad dry season in New Zealand. An emergency fertilization regiment was conceived, something that wouldn’t shock the tree, but slowly bring it back to fighting shape.

As you can see, it obviously worked.

 

 

In terms of manpower there have been 6 greensmen in Matamata every day for the last two years keeping the grass, growing the foliage and guiding the exposed roots INTO the set design. In the months leading up to filming that crew was upped to 20 greens and 15 set dressers in order to make Hobbiton… well, Hobbiton.

That doesn’t even count the construction crews that actually built the Hobbit holes, the stone bridge and The Green Dragon. And built them to stay, I should add.

The last time out they built the Hobbit holes and structures like most movie sets. They were temporary, not functional past the time the crew needed them to work. This time out they made a deal with the landowner to make this site an official and long lasting attraction for fans of the movies.

Forty-Four Hobbit holes were built to be permanent, with retaining walls, waterproofed roofs, etc. The stone bridge was constructed with a steel superstructure covered with real stone cladding. The Green Dragon is the most impressive of them all because it was built with a functioning fireplace, plumbing, water pipes and the works.

Hennah said the plans were to actually turn The Green Dragon into a real, working pub, but that’s all on the landowners at this point, I believe. I can picture many a geek wedding happening in Matamata, vows under the Party Tree and reception at The Green Dragon. Ah, geek love!

While they did remove a lot of set dressing (meaning props like chairs, ladders and various odds and ends) the Hobbit holes will remain and all can be entered safely. They even left the curtains in the windows.

This is the website for the big tour, which have started up again, I believe. If you find yourself in New Zealand and are a nerd for these movies (if you’re reading this that means you are, FYI) do yourself a favor and walk around this set.

Hennah called the Hobbiton set the most important one he has been in charge of in all the films. It starts the story and, if he’s done his job right, puts the audience right into a believable magic world. As a set, Hobbiton makes the first impression and the final impression of each set of Middle Earth films, beginnings and endings.

How’s that for a segue? Quite nice, right? I’m pretty proud of myself for that one.

Usually during filming I tuck myself away at an off-set monitor in a tent well away from shooting as to keep myself out of actors’ eyelines and to ensure that I don’t get caught by the camera. If that should happen I would incur the wrath of Caro Cunningham, producer and Peter’s longtime 1st AD. She’s the taskmaster on the set, probably the most loved and feared woman amongst the crew. She’s got to keep this massive production moving and somehow manages to be strict, but motherly. Very quickly you get to a point where you’re more nervous about her being disappointed in you than getting mad at you for mucking about. Hopefully I’ll be featuring her in a future report and get to go a little more in-depth about her role in the production. She’s one of the most crucial pegs in the wheel that churn out these great Middle Earth films.

Anyway, I’m usually tucked away while they’re filming. I would venture out to watch rehearsals, new set ups and (my favorite) to have a wander during lunch while the crew is off chowing down, but during filming I’m typically as out of the way as I can make myself. That wasn’t the case for this shot of Bilbo running off to catch up with the dwarves.

Here was my view for this series of takes:

 

 

I set up camp with Leith McPherson, one of the dialect coaches, next to the sound guys on top of a hobbit hole, overlooking The Shire. We were down the hill from Bag End and as such the shot had Bilbo running full out towards me and his contract with the dwarves trailing out from his right hand.

He passes Worrywort, the hobbit he talks with during my big fishmonger moment, who asks where he’s running off to.

There’s an excitement in his voice as he shouts out that he’s going on an adventure, which is a slight change from the Bilbo in the book who is less than chuffed about being forced out of his hobbit hole. That Bilbo is still in the film, especially in the first scene where Gandalf asks him to join up on the quest.

However, Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have taken the little acorn of Bilbo being an adventurous child from Tolkien’s novel, having a little bit of Bullroarer Took’s blood in his veins, and seem to have injected some of that young adventurer deep inside the otherwise content hobbit.

From what I’ve seen, I think it makes for a more interesting character and one that we recognize from Ian Holm’s portrayal in Fellowship.

 

 

Returning to Hobbiton is a little more melancholy, of course. The quest is done, friends have died and Bilbo’s exhausted, not to mention a bit shell-shocked. And he finally gets home to find all his shit’s on the lawn! How’s that for a welcome back?

Having been gone for 13 months Bilbo was presumed dead and there’s an auction for his possessions, which the Sackville-Bagginses are very happy about.

I talked briefly with Martin about this section and he mentioned that he wanted to play it a bit harder than Peter was probably expecting. He’s not happy to see people making off with his possessions and after a hard journey he’s not the same laid back hobbit as the one who left. That was Freeman’s thought, anyway, and from what I could see being filmed Jackson agreed that when he stands up for himself it should be done with more force than you’d expect.

The man’s not screaming and knocking fools out, but he’s noticeably stronger and more confident than he was before.

Hobbiton proved to be a popular location for visitors to the set. I got to see some Austin friends as Red Vs. Blue’s Burnie Burns and Brandon Farmahini came by for a few hours while heading to Armageddon Con in Auckland. On other days a few different Make-A-Wish families came through and it was quite something to see the looks on these kids’ faces as they got to look out over Hobbiton.

It made the news when the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key came by as well. In fact, they held a press conference where Jackson and Key announced that Wellington would host the world premiere of The Hobbit next November. I didn’t get to meet the Prime Minister, but I was there when he arrived with his entourage of secret service guys. That’s about as close as I came to brushing shoulders with the real movers and shakers in world politics.

All good things must come to an end and that was true of my time in Matamata. But like Bilbo, my adventure has just begun.

At lunch Unit Production Manager Bridgette Yorke and the hardworking locations crew handed out packets containing maps, keys and detailed information on the next location to each person on the crew. It’s quite an exciting moment, I have to say. It felt a little bit like a reality show since I had a vague idea of where we were going next, but no real specifics until receiving the packet with an address and a key in it.

Where would be going? Here’s a tease:

 

 

Now on to the featured crew member for this article. I couldn’t leave Hobbiton without putting a spotlight on Heather McMullen. If you read my last report you may remember she’s the one who made and applied my hobbit feet. Heather he master of all things furry footed and personally in charge of Martin Freeman’s Bilbo feet.

 

 

That’s Heather with some Hobbit ears on (of the Frodo variety. I know they look elvish, but apparently Frodo has very petite ears).

Hailing from Northern England, Heather studied at Madame Tussauds (!?!) in London before jumping down to the Southern Hemisphere to be the foot wrangler on The Hobbit. While in London, she worked making wigs for stage plays and then was hired on to the last Harry Potter film where she punched the eyebrow hair for the Goblins in Gringotts.

In my mind the predominant image I have of Heather is her sitting with a pair of floppy feet in her lap, a needle in one hand and a clump of hair in the other. She spends hours every day stippling hair into hobbit foot after hobbit foot. With a few quick jabs the process of punching the real human hair into the silicone skin begins.

When really under the gun she says she can pump out a pair of fully punched hobbit feet (toes, legs and all) in about 90 minutes.

If she’s not making footies furry Heather is watching Martin Freeman’s feet, always keeping an eye out for rips and tears in the silicone. If there’s a toe missing (that can’t be covered up with some mud or dirt) she has an extra set on hand.

So, that’s Heather. And that’s it for Matamata. It was lovely, Hobbiton. I shall miss you… but the adventure continues. Stay tuned for a report on the next location which features wizards, dwarves and horsies!

Click here to read Part 1 - Concerning Hobbiton

Click here to read Part 2 - They Call Me Mr. Chubb

-Eric Vespe
”Quint”
quint@aintitcool.com
Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Where now?

    by MightyOs

    My neighbour is a cameraman on this movie and is heading down to Dunedin, so is that where your next report will be coming from?

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Cool

    by Fritzlorrerains

    Lucky bastard

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:12 a.m. CST

    great stuff again..

    by Bourne Again

    Loved that shot of party tree.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:18 a.m. CST

    Thanks for that Quint

    by Leroys Poboys

    Very cool indeed, keep them coming.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Not a surprise that *location* will be a mini theme park.

    by justmyluck

    You know the LOTR movies are huge for NZ tourism when the PM shows up.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Language - a comment:

    by Ray Gamma

    Quint, nice article, but please try not to be infected by Harry's poor command of the English language.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 3:30 a.m. CST

    mighty

    by Quint

    I'm a little behind. Got two locations to write up before catching up to the Dunedin area.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:05 a.m. CST

    Hobbiton does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    The Green Dragon to be made into a real working pub? Mark me down for a pint... followed by a bit of the hobbit 'leaf' on the hillside. Life's good...

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:09 a.m. CST

    I'm not a LOTR geek by any means

    by DOGSOUP

    But these reports are pretty damned awesome.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:17 a.m. CST

    Keep the good stuff coming Quint.

    by Madcapper

    Can't wait for the next one, from a new location no less!

  • They could put him in a dress, surround him with egg sacs and FX goo and he could be the Hobbit Queen. (Yep, Hobbits are all hatched from egg sacs laid by the Hobbit Queen. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:51 a.m. CST

    In NZ

    by vaterite

    Just went to Hobbiton on Sunday morning, which was day 5 since they started the tours up again. They hadn't yet cut the grass since filming ended. Quint's shot up the hill towards bag end really gives you a sense of how the whole set fills this one little valley, with hobbit holes, chimneys, gardens, paths everywhere you look. There was even a barrel of longbottom leaf! The set is truly amazing to walk through, and apparently the folks who own the sheep farm and run the tours have employed four full time gardeners to keep the place looking as it was for all the visitors to come in the next eleventy one years. They said the thatched roofs should last for about eighty years. Several big old trees, including the party tree, had wooden supports holding up their lowest branches. Also, remember the neat story about the crew sawing apart a real oak tree, and reconstructing it to sit atop bag end? In the ensuing years that has rotted away, so now the tree above bag end is made of fiberglass, and keeps its leaves all winter. I'd share some photos of this truly. Magical place, but we told that new line would come hunting for us if we so much as e-mailed any photos of the set to anyone. Cheers!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 6:16 a.m. CST

    These articles should be on the EE DVD's for this.

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    These, along with the brilliant videos PJ is doing is making me as damn excited for this as I was LOTR. And funnily enough, it was my obsessive following of LOTR news that brought me to a small website I had never heard of called AICN, which had linked to an article about when Elijah did his audition video at a BBQ with Harry. Good job again, Quint! I can't wait for the rest!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:05 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    vaterite, that's cool and partly why LOTR so utterly thrashed the Star Wars PT. Imagine a set tour of that... Ladies and gentlemen here we have the green screen that would have been the senate room. And over here is one of the ACTUAL quad core pentium processors that Jar Jar Binks was created on. Oh and here's the guy that voiced Jar Jar, and yes, you can punch him if you like.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:08 a.m. CST

    PJ's LORD OF THE RINGS is the pinnacle of cinematic achievement.

    by MaxTheSilent

    If you disagree then you can quite proudly suck a dick.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Looks like Jackson is back to Lord of the Rings weight.

    by Mahaloth

    I don't blame him, all those hours.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:20 a.m. CST

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Jealousy

    by TheUmpireStrokesBach

    The geek that burns twice as bright burns for half as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, Quint. Look at you: you're the Prodigal Halfling; you're quite a prize! Quint: I've done... questionable reporting. Also extraordinary articles; revel in your time. Quint: Nothing that Peter Jackson wouldn't let you into The Hobbit for.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Dog!

    by Anthony Torchia

    Ack! And other 3 letter expressions! I have been jealousy incarnate since article 1 Quint Nice job, pig.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Ah yes, English girls!

    by mdk

    You cannot do better, and they'll always let you know it, too.

  • Like every once in a while it cuts back to Hobbiton for five seconds or so as orcs cleave hobbits in half and everything's burning and everyone is screaming—no explanation whatsoever. And when Bilbo finally gets back, everything's back to normal. Maybe there's a severed orc leg in Bilbo's garden.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 8:54 a.m. CST

    "Chuffed"

    by Free Squares

    You didn't use that word right... Chuffed means happy. Bilbo being chuffed to be forced out of his Hobbit hole would mean he was glad about it, and if I remember rightly, he really wasn't much pleased at all. Other than that, great article!

  • I was hoping he could keep it off. :-(

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Will we see a teaser soon?

    by Sean1701

    Surely there is enough footage!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 10:08 a.m. CST

    If i ever find myself in New Zealand

    by Brandon

    I know where one of my must go to places will be at

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Choppah's sources, Barbecue and Hollandaise, are rarely wrong. WB knows that HOBBIT teaser will be the only reason to see SHERLOCK 2.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Thank you again Quint!

    by t_allen

    Another great article up that made my bad day so much better! Thank you, sir!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST

    mightyos

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Not much point, he won't see anything. Avatar 2 and 3 are shooting in LA.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Lucas would have had a CG tree

    by VoiceOfSaruman

    and had all sorts of cutesy little alien animals doing oopsy pratfalls off it. Peter Jackson FTW. And Quint. These are articles are great.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 11:39 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    I didn't want to risk revealing all your sources Chop. But Tabasco is always 'hot off the press'. Boom boom!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Removed

    by XoanonTORN

    Was this removed from the FP for some reason or are my eyes wonky

  • I realize the spelling isn't exact, but damn isn't that close to Dúnedain (Men of the West). Very cool.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Good to see Jackson is fat again...

    by Flames gotta Eat

    The fat = better director. Yeah it's heartbreaking to see someone gain the weight back they worked so hard to shed, but seriously, he'll make a better film now :) And that Heather is beautiful, wow. Any Hobbit foot fetishists out there? Would she be like the ultimate girl for that?

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:30 p.m. CST

    kwisatzhaderach - LA?

    by MightyOs

    Really? http://www.flicks.co.nz/news/avatar-2-and-3-to-be-shot-in-new-zealand/ suggests otherwise. And all of the post production will be done in NZ.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Heather McMullan, wow!

    by BadMrWonka

    That is a beautiful woman, if I do say so myself.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Quint, I think it might be McMullen, with an E.

    by BadMrWonka

    From a quick google search, I found a website for someone by that name with a similar CV as you describe (doesn't look to have been updated in a long while), and it's spelled that way. Not to nitpick, but I love the idea of highlighting members of the crew like this, and it would be nice if it gets her a little exposure. Having her name right is a big part of that, since these set visits are spreading like wildfire! Great stuff, by the way! All of us are so jealous!

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Wonka

    by Quint

    She's listed as McMullan on the call sheet. I haven't checked her driver's license, but that's pretty official.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Quint

    by BadMrWonka

    Fair enough. I thought this was her: http://www.heathermcmullen.co.uk/ Plus, there's no one by that name on IMDB, so I was just a little confused.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:14 p.m. CST

    stop saying 'back to back' for films shooting concurrently

    by BBSloth

    It does not mean concurrently, it means the opposite...one after the other

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Criswell Predicts...

    by Odkin

    In 3 years we will be buying the first movie on Blu-Ray In 4 years we will be buying the 2nd movie on Blu-Ray In 5 years we will be buying a 12 hour mega-set Blu-Ray of the entire Hobbit/LOTR saga edited together. Then buying it again 2-3 years later when SuperBlu+ replaces it all.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 8:25 p.m. CST

    regimen* quint

    by Waka_Flocka

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Bluray

    by ArchStanton1862

    And yet it will all be worth it.

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Quint, you old dog...

    by ODM

    Someone has the hots Miss McMullan methinks ;)

  • Nov. 14, 2011, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Heather McMullan is so dreamy

    by RichardLuzT

    If I land a wife 3/4 as much as she is, I doubt I could ever take my eyes out of her.

  • Jackson and company should hire a young up and coming whipper snapper of a director, or get Del Toro to make a Scouring of the Shire film before it is too late. This stand alone film could be either a direct to DVD/Blu-ray release, or a TV movie or miniseries that could be released in the fall of 2012 or fall of 2013 to act as a tie-in promo for The Hobbit two-parter. They should have planned for something like that so that once all the filming at Hobbiton/The Shire was completed for The Hobbit, then the Scouring film crew could come in and use it for their film.

  • is kinda like James Cameron being a better director when he has a beard and is in crazy mean hyperactive mode. Beards are just more distinguished, and my guess is that when a director is in whirlwind adrenaline anger mode, shit gets done on the set.

  • darth, are you sure that a space jockey hasn't telepathically penetrated your mind, implanting dark erotic biomechanoid visions in the depths of your subconscious?

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 1:58 a.m. CST

    Is Peter Jackson carrying a chicken?

    by Wookie_Weed

    In the photo with Freeman, PJ has a coffee in one hand, and a chicken under his other arm!

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Hey Quint, Are you doing you Christmas Gift List this year???

    by Erik_Richmond

    I'm in dire need of some advice on gifts for geeks or stuff to ask for myself... What a terrible way to be...

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Second you should be 'your'...d'oh!!

    by Erik_Richmond

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 5:16 a.m. CST

    I think Party Tree should look smaller in this

    by Bodenland Unbound

    than in Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit takes place YEARS before LOTR!

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 9 a.m. CST

    Good job, Quint. Thanks!

    by bat725

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 9:19 a.m. CST

    So Hobbiton shares its space with a sheep farm?

    by mdk

    Wouldn't sheep be frightening for Hobbits? Herds of relentless, huge, unstoppable ungulates eating everything green in sight?

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    mightyos.....um, dude. you did notice that that

    by southafricanguy

    article is dated October 2010? Since then you do know that Cameron has bought a lease on some massive new studio (where the filming will be done apprantly) in Manhatten beach? The articel even mentions that no decisions have been made, so I am afraid that article does not say otherwise at all. Kwis is right as far as anyone knows right now...... Here is a link to an article dated April 2011 /04/avatar-2-and-3-will-be-filmed-at-new.html

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 9:29 a.m. CST

    anyhoo.....this looks awsome imho. Good to see

    by southafricanguy

    PJ back doing what he should be doing (even though I would have loved to see what del toro would have done...*sigh*). And the returned weight is probably good. Hopefully it means he is becoming the film maker he used to be because fuck me the lovely bones was almost unwatchable..... Sorry I like PJ and he has made some damn good films, but shit that film was bad....

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Soooooo pumped for this

    by pumaman

    next year is too long ...

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    re: Heather McMullan, like I said: English girls kick ass

    by mdk

    So much nicer than the dead-eyed, semi-literate skanks we have to put up with here in the States.

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Personally in charge of feet.

    by blackwood

    I'm seen some videos about that on the internet.

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Ha! It does look like PJ is carrying a chicken!

    by Jaka

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 6:25 p.m. CST

    I like Cobra-Kai, bbsloth, dogsoup, and of course, Choppah

    by phantomcreeps

    FUCK YOU CREETYTHINMAN LIVES!!! FACT!!!

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 6:27 p.m. CST

    You don't deserve to use the word CREEP! BITCH!!!

    by phantomcreeps

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Keep on truckin', Quint!

    by Zardoz

    Great stuff and a nice lead-in to the films. Thank you and Looking forward to more!

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 10:16 p.m. CST

    PJ gotta eat

    by lv_426

    an entire chicken to get back to portly size so he can properly direct The Hobbit.

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST

    #6 most anticipated

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    that counts for something I guess

  • Nov. 15, 2011, 11:08 p.m. CST

    It's genuinely unfair.

    by blackwood

    I really wanted to maintain my indifference for this. Partly because I wanted it to be different from LORD OF THE RINGS -- connected but apart, the same universe but seen from a different eye. I overwatched LOTR and have a hard time sitting through them now. I loved them so, so much at the time, but they haven't aged impeccably, or I haven't, which means watching them now they feel less than they did when I first discovered them. LOTR was always in the household, but I never got around to reading it -- it was one of those intimidating collections on the shelf that looked like it read old, stilted, and didn't have a lick of imagination in it. So the films hit me hard, filled a hole in my fantasy lexicon I didn't realize was there. I worry about Jackson on the material. LOVELY BONES was terrible. Shockingly bad. He changed, after the films. I love KING KONG but it's too full -- of itself, mostly. I worry how this great story is going to be overstuffed to get two films out of it. I hope it all works, but I also worry that Jackson's eye has gotten lazy, and it won't feel sharp or light on its feet. But... reading these reports, seeing the pictures. I want to watch it now, doubts in my hat, eager to eat it.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 12:15 a.m. CST

    I'm not worried

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    I just trust that Jackson will treat this material as he did with Rings. For some reason I'll be surprised if it's similar to King Kong. King Kong didn't have a glut of good characters and story for him to work with and he stuffed it with unneeded and overly long action sequences. Trying too hard? He should have cut his losses in the editting room but didn't.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Holiday Guide

    by Jimbo08lak

    Where the fuck is it?

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Nice To See Jackson Fat Again

    by Rebeck2

    He never looked right with the weight off. He's obviously meant to be a hobbit himself.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 2:06 p.m. CST

    @ lv_426

    by thedoctor28

    I think we need some PROMETHEUS news here?! We have not had a TB for that for a while now...

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Cool Baggins

    by Teddy Artery

    Love these reports. All the best to the amazing folks who are making this movie a reality.

  • I mean, I KNOW The Hobbit. But I've been reading all the other stuff I could think off or that has been mentioned in these talkbacks. The Silmarillion (which I also knew, but it was fun to read it again because it gets easier each time), the LOTR appendices, Lost Tales and Unfinished Tales - and I think they could be on to something pretty good. Something that may work nicely with the world established in PJ EE LOTRs trilogy. If they can tie-in everything that comes directly from Tolkien that it seems like they could tie-in, I think a lot of people will be happy with the finished product. If we get a bunch of made up hooey, with too many people being where they have no business being, forced connections or (the worst) made up romance, well... that could be more than a bit disappointing. <p> I do however have complete faith in all of the craftsmen and women of NZ. I expect to be fully transported back to the world the created in the LOTR trilogy and that alone will go a very long way for me in regards to liking this films or not.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Holiday Guide

    by Quint

    Is coming. I've been sacrificing pretty much all of my free time in NZ to pound out the Holiday Guide. It usually posts Thanksgiving and I'm track to post on time (fingers crossed).

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 9:09 p.m. CST

    So it's near-unanimous: More Heather McMullan!!!

    by mdk

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Great they're keeping the set there permanently.

    by LORDOFLIGHT

    I'm surprised they didn't do that to start off with though. Interestin stuff!

  • ...didn't realize so many fans would want to make pilgrimage to see it. I think NZ as a whole may have been caught a little off guard by what it did for their tourism. That's why such a big deal was made about getting the sequels done there, too.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 2:28 p.m. CST

    QUINT

    by THE_ONE_MAN_GANG

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    sorry, QUINT: i hope AICN is paying you good!

    by THE_ONE_MAN_GANG

    You are the only true professional writing for this site! No offense to the others... but just a different level.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 4:28 p.m. CST

    I second the notion that Quint is doing a great job

    by lv_426

    What with the BTS pics of the day, the holiday guides every year, and enduring that crazy live-chicken-eating Kiwi taskmaster known as Peter Jackson. Although, to be fair to Mr. Jackson, I would wager that The Hobbit shoot is less pain and strain than say that of Bad Taste. Quint, did you get to talk to PJ at all about Bad Taste? It is such a great little guerrilla filmmaking splatstick gem that often gets overlooked in the wake of Jackson's more mainstream works.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    lv_426, great comment from the old skool. For some of us, before Peter Jackson was Peter Jackson, he was Derek. The Shaun Of The Dead of his generation.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:39 a.m. CST

    cobra--kai

    by lv_426

    "Send in THE BOYS!" "Ummm, I got a chunky bit." Then there is the epicness of the BAD TASTE theme song (sung by some of the actors from the film). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWbH-vAjYW4&feature=related -- we're gonna be winning, it's time we win we've got a good team, and we don't ??? it's time we unite, we'll be as one our private army will never run we've got the reason to believe we've got the power to succeed but the minute you let me down you leave a bad taste in my mouth i've got a midget and good reich license to kill, license to fight we're only human, we're only boys we're only dispensable toys we've got the reason to believe we've got the power to succeed but the minute you let me down you leave a bad taste in my mouth we've got the reason to believe we've got the power to succeed but the minute you let me down you leave a bad taste in my mouth --

  • BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That's funny! Guess that makes me one proud pole-smoker then....

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    may not be the pinnacle

    by hey_kobe_tell_me_how_your_ass_tastes

    but its damned good, bubbie.

  • Nov. 19, 2011, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Dove Men Care ad????!!!!

    by abe

    Really, now you've stooped so low as to accept ads from Dove Men Care? And it comes complete with a popup ad that you have to click on before reading this site? This is the end of me coming to this site. Goodbye.

  • Nov. 19, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST

    "Chuffed" = Happy!

    by Steve Rogers

    Obviously your heritage is different Quint, but that word is used incorrectly in the article! Bilbo would be the exact *opposite* of chuffed.

  • Nov. 19, 2011, 7:55 p.m. CST

    This stuff is great

    by jackofhearts29

    Thanks once again Quint. This is the best content on here by a long shot. I would say it's worth actual money but I am sure the movie folks are handling that aspect.. heh. But I am dazzled by New Zealand especially.. it fucking sells itself. It's like it was made for Middle Earth. Turn this way... hey, the Shire! Over here, behind these trees? Mordor! If I was given an ultimatum by some planet devouring creature that I could only save one thousandth of the surface of Planet Earth, I think I would choose New Zealand. And I haven't even been there!

  • Dec. 11, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Chuffed

    by Rylee

    an English Minor

  • Dec. 11, 2011, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Chuffed

    by Rylee

    *Computer ate most of my preceding post* free squares and steve rogers: Quint says "There’s an excitement in his voice as he shouts out that he’s going on an adventure, which is a slight change from the Bilbo in the book who is less than chuffed about being forced out of his hobbit hole", in which he is indicating that the Bilbo in the FILM is excited to be going on an adventure, whereas the Bilbo in the BOOK is less than happy - "less than chuffed" about it. Careful reading is helpful in discerning a writer's intention! Signed, "An English Minor

  • Dec. 11, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    ryeeye

    by Rylee

    Excellent and tantalising article, Quint - whets my appetite to see the film when it comes out, even more than previously!

  • June 12, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Party Tree!

    by Mary

    So glad they could save the Party Tree! Love the parts about how Martin Freeman planned on playing the returning Bilbo, and the bit about Heather. Thanks again.