Sir Ian McKellen Blogs About Seeing Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit in 3-D
03.09.11 by BJSprecher
We're still a couple weeks away from the start of principal photography on The Hobbit, but pre-production work on the highly-anticipated two-part prequel to the The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy has been underway for some time (at least as far back as March 2009 when Weta, the special effects, props and digital visual effects company behind LOTR, District 9, Avatar and many other movies, announced that it was "in production" on The Hobbit). LOTR director Peter Jackson returns to the world of Middle Earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien and this time he has brought 3-D technology with him. Sir Ian McKellen, who played the wizard Gandalf in LOTR and will reprise the role in The Hobbit tweeted several weeks ago that he "saw Bilbo in 3D," and now he has updated his personal website with a blog about the experience.
I've seen Bilbo—in three dimensions.
I was visiting old friends in the Stone Street offices and heard Martin Freeman was just round the corner by the permanent greenscreen, done up as Bilbo, testing his costume in front of the 3D cameras. Indeed, there he was in the open air, mostly oblivious to the camera, though turning this way and that as required. Martin improvised a hobbity gait, padding back and forth, testing his big hairy Hobbit feet, pointy ears and little tum.
Beneath the shade of a tent, in a sun hat, Andrew Lesnie was remotely controlling the two lenses within the mighty camera which digitally records in 3D. His screen showed the familiar 2D image but next to it, above the director's chair, was a large colour screen in full magical three dimensions, much as it will appear in the cinema—courtesy of the spy-glasses that transform the blurred outlines onscreen to the high definition exactitude of the 3D effect.
Three Bilbos simultaneously, two performances on screen and the actor beyond: which was the real one? Martin Freeman was transmuting into a character whose reality will soon be as authentic as his own.
—Ian McKellen, Wellington, March 2011
The Hobbit was written by Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (who was at one time attached to direct and was also supposed to cameo as a creature), Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Also reprising their LOTR roles are Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Andy Serkis as Smeagol/Gollum and Hugo Weaving as Elrond. New additions to the cast include Sylvester McCoy as the wizard Radagast, Mikael Persbrandt as the shape-shifter Beorn, Ryan Gage as Drogo Baggins, father of Frodo, and 13 actors who will play the company of dwarves.