Rumors have been flying that there would be a major casting announcement for The Hobbit at Comic-Con next week: who would be tapped to play Bilbo Baggins. Among the frontrunners are said to be Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, and David Tennant, though there's obviously the chance that as with The Lord of the Rings an unknown will take the lead.
Alas, executive producer Peter Jackson says that they're not quite ready yet:
No, we won't be announcing Bilbo for a little while. We're starting to think about casting, but we're knee-deep in the script right now. And when we do go to actors, they're probably going to ask to see a script, so we're powering ahead with getting the first draft done.
Nonetheless, preparations for filming are well underway. A familiar landscape is springing up in the New Zealand countryside as roads are laid out, fruit trees are planted and hobbit holes are being dug. Hobbiton is coming back, and there are pictures. Posted 07.20.09 by reelz
On location in New Zealand, director Guillermo del Toro offered some early hints about what audiences can expect from his cinematic interpretation of The Hobbit.
First off, he explains where the project currently stands:
Well we start next year. We are in pre-production. We are writing, designing, designing characters, monsters. Designing all the environments. Developing the technology to shoot it. And it will start in March 2010 and we will shoot for about 370 days or so. And at the end of that we will post-produce for a few months. And then first movie comes out 2011. Second movie comes out 2012.
He then goes on to tease the prospect of landscapes beyond anything seen in Lord of the Rings:
The landscapes in some cases, in some instances that were not established in the trilogy, we are going for a slightly different feel in some of the landscapes. So we are going to evolve little by little. At the end of the first movie, you will see landscapes that you haven't seen in the trilogy. And in the second movie we go to, hopefully, a place that is very very different.
Adding to the already huge expectations, comic artist Mike Mignola offered his impressions on the status of the project from a week in New Zealand working on some concept drawings for the movie:
... it looks like a 16-hour, insane movie, there's so much in it. It's too early for me to tell how much stuff is going to get paired down. I don't really feel comfortable saying too much, except that it looks amazing. And it's very much a del Toro stamp on that world.
Sounds like things are off to a really good start. Posted 06.29.09 by reelz
Many fans are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Guillermo del Toro's vision of The Hobbit, due in 2012. For the uninitiated, The Hobbit is based on the J. R. R. Tolkien book of same name, which takes place before his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Several of The Hobbit's characters were featured in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies — leaving many to wonder if members of Jackson's cast would appear in del Toro's adaptation. According to the director himself, we can expect at least three familiar faces. In an interview with BBC Radio 5, he confirmed (around the 2:10:45 mark) that Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving will reprise their roles as the wizard Gandalf, the treacherous Gollum, and the elf lord Elrond, respectively.
No other casting decisions have been announced. The screenplay was written by del Toro and Jackson, along with Lord of the Rings co-writers Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh. Posted 06.12.09 by reelz
In comments made to MTV, director Guillermo del Toro confirms that his adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit will consist of only two films. There had been rumors -- and April Fools' jokes -- about The Hobbit becoming a trilogy. He indicates that there had been serious discussions about a "bridge" film between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But ultimately, del Toro says, "the two films were the way to go."
He also has decided on the point in the narrative where he will spit the two films, but isn't divulging that detail yet. Speculation is centering on the point where Bilbo and his dwarf companions escape the Mirkwood elves on a raft made of barrels. Posted 06.08.09 by reelz
When it comes to The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Ian McKellen returning as Gandalf or Andy Serkis returning as Gollum seems natural, considering their characters' involvement in the original J.R.R. Tolkein novel, but Dominic Monaghan and his fellow hobbits returning seems odd, since their characters were not even born when The Hobbit takes place. Still, that's precisely what Monaghan revealed to MTV: "They really want us to come back, and I think there's a really strong chance that we might be back."
The return of Monaghan and company would have to include some serious re-writes, however. "We're not in 'The Hobbit,' no, but I think the idea in [Peter Jackson's and director Guillermo del Toro's] heads is that the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings films was so beloved by the fans that they're really keen to try to say thank you for the support that they gave to the Lord of the Rings movies and possibly bring back some of those characters that they know and love."
Whether Monaghan and company will appear in The Hobbit or its sequel, which will link the movie to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is uncertain.
One thing that is is clear is that Serkis is ready to protect his "precious" again as Gollum: "I am going to really be looking forward to it," he told ComingSoon.net, "I mean the combination between [Del Toro] and Peter is extraordinary as well. I know they are writing at the moment." Posted 01.19.09 by Ryan
In an interview with iFMagazine, Sir Ian McKellen confirmed his involvement with the Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, saying "I have been been promised I'm in it," a mere twelve hours from eating dinner with Hobbit director Guillermo Del Toro.
As for X-Men Origins: Magneto, the next possible X-Men spin-off, McKellen isn't sold: "If the Wolverine movie does well, they'll probably just do another Wolverine movie." Even if it does, McKellen likely won't be involved: "If they do a spin-off, it would be about the young [Magneto]." Posted 01.09.09 by Ryan
Director Guillermo del Toro ramps up expectations in an online chat with fans over the weekend in which he reveals that the shooting for his two-part adaptation of The Hobbit will begin in 2010 and will involve an attempt to chart new territory in creature design. The focus, he says, will be on the Goblin Kingdom, the dragon Smaug, and the Spiders of Mirkwood, with the goal of "pushing them to the edge of technology where we will fuse animatronics and CGI into a seamless new art form in creating creatures." Plans are to work with past collaborators from Pan's Labyrinth to Hellboy II to "create and expand a massive universe and be as immersive as the [Lord of the Rings] trilogy was." Posted 12.01.08 by reelz
Reelz.com recently spoke with Hobbit director Guillermo del Toro at the press day for Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Posted 07.07.08 by reelz
The director is pumped to work on the Lord of the Rings prequels and spoke about the projects with Brent Simon. Check out the full del Toro Hobbit talk right here.
Viggo Mortensen was a recipient of the Half Life Award at the 2008 Cinevegas Film Festival. The actor was on hand to receive the award as well as to promote his film, Alatriste, which was screening at the festival.
Reelz.com had the chance for an exclusive interview with the amiable Mortensen during the festival and we got some great info on the actor's upcoming projects.
For the full interview including discussion of The Road, The Hobbit and those Sylvestor Stallone Edgar Allen Poe rumors, check out our Exclusive Viggo Interview. Posted 06.23.08 by reelz
Not so fast Mr. del Toro. Posted 06.12.08 by reelz
As we reported back in February, the Tolkien estate is suing New Line Cinema (or maybe now Warner Bros.) claiming that New Line still owes Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien, a sizable portion of the profits from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien is also looking to prevent the filming of the new Hobbit movies under director Guillermo del Toro.
A jury trial date of October 19, 2009 has been set to determine whether Tolkien has the right to block the Hobbit prequels.
Meanwhile, on June 6th a California judge will issue a ruling as to whether New Line still owes money to the Tolkien estate. Tolkien is also seeking to prevent the use of a collection of memoirs entitled "The Silmarillo" as source material for the Hobbit movie.
We'll continue to update you as this story unfolds.