Peter Jackson talks about “The Hobbit”

This excerpt was published by The Examiner on August 10, about 8 days before MarketSaw published the rumor that Peter Jackson wants to direct a 3rd “Hobbit” film. I just think the interview is interesting enough that I should say something here (even though it’s not longer hot news).

Here is an excerpt from the interview that concerns “The Hobbit”. I have excised some portions of Peter’s comments because you really should visit the site and read the full interview:

…I know you’re probably going to have a lot of questions about “The Hobbit.” …

…We’re about three or four weeks away of delivering our first draft of the first movie to Warner Bros., because the film’s not greenlit yet. You know, we have to submit a script, the studio has to read the script and like it. …

… I just want to be able to say … we haven’t gotten to the stage where we can offer anybody a role yet …. So we’re still three or four weeks away from delivering that draft. Then we can start the process of the budget. Probably in about two months is when we’re going we’ll be able to start to offer people roles. So despite everything you might have read and all the gossip and everything else, literally, honestly, [we] have not offered anyone a role in this film at this stage.

We are doing two [“Hobbit”] movies, just to clarify … because one of the things that is interesting, as you know, is that [J.R.R.] Tolkein wrote “The Hobbit” first in 1936, and then about 20 years later, he published “The Lord of the Rings.” And he expanded and developed the world of Middle Earth way bigger and larger and more detailed than he knew about when he wrote “The Hobbit,” ….

But one of the things we were really excited about when we got to thinking about [doing “The Hobbit” movie] is we can take that expanded information that he developed later on and we can apply it to “The Hobbit” and make it fuller and more epic and put “The Hobbit” in the context of the greater activity that is happening in Middle Earth at that time. To do all that, we figured that we needed two epic films to be able to really tell that story … I just wanted to clear a couple of things up.

Read the full article here.

Now, let me point out that Peter Jackson and his writing team almost completely rewrote the history of Middle-earth for the LoTR movies. In their very slimmed down version of Middle-earth history, there was no long line of kings in Gondor — it was ruled by Stewards all along. And Arnor and its subsequent division into three smaller kingdoms also was transformed into a realm that vanished completely upon Isildur’s death.

How much the very abbreviated history Peter and his co-writers went with could affect their “Hobbit” extensions I don’t know. To be honest, they are probably free to invent any new history they want (because the license from the Tolkien Estate really doesn’t allow them to use all the canonical history but neglects to forbid creating new history).

Is this important? Don’t mistake what I’m writing here for Tolkien Purist doom-and-gloom. Rather, I think we should all look for some surprises in whatever material Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro decide should be included in the backstory for “The Hobbit” (and any third “bridge” movie that may appear).

It’s probably safe to assume that faithfulness to the books died many deaths long ago. There were some elements of Peter’s movies that I felt were more faithful to the books than many other fans (including the spirit of Arwen’s character, but that’s a whole different topic). Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro will extend Peter’s Middle-earth in ways Tolkien did not foresee. And I think that as long as people enjoy the movies that should be okay.

Would I love to see a completely faithful adaptation of the Tolkien stories? Absolutely. And I think all the arguments about how the books are too long have long since been proven to be nonsense. Clearly, people don’t want their favorite film franchises to vanish into the woodwork. You could easily bring six “Lord of the Rings” movies to the big screen.

The continuity issues could probably be resolved in various ways. I don’t believe it’s necessary to follow every character all the way through every movie. But a little rearrangement could probably handle that objection, too.

Still that’s just wishful thinking. We have the movies we have and I am looking forward to seeing what Guillermo del Toro brings to the silver screen. He has some large boots to fill, but I’m confident he is up to the task.

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