The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey drew large crowds on Friday and set a new December opening day record with an estimated 37.5 million from 4,045 locations.
In Empire’s recent video interviews with the cast of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson revealed a couple of interesting titbits about his intentionally mysterious cameo in the film.
If you haven’t seen it already, it’s probably best if you don’t know – but if you have seen the first Hobbit movie already, here’s where he was hiding: in Erebor, dressed up as a dwarf, high-tailing it away from Smaug as the wicked wyrm blasted his particular brand of firey halitosis all upside The Lonely Mountain.
But as most dwarves in the film are bearded, helmeted and armoured, it’s very difficult to make him out without knowing where he’ll be in advance.
The question is then why he chose that role – why did Peter “Carrot Chomper” Jackson hide himself away from the limelight this time around?
“I didn’t have a great deal of choice,” he explains. “There weren’t any human characters in this film, and there weren’t any hobbit roles I could play… and I’m not an elf.”
Also news on the DVD given directly by Sir Ian McKellen in an interview with Empire:
There is one scene that is missing (from the theatrical version of The Hobbit) that i helped to write: just a suggestion to underline as to why Gandalf picked Bilbo to go on the quest with the dwarves. It’s because he has met Bilbo when he was a little boy. There was a scene in which I played with him and pulled a toy dragon out of my sleeve – precursing events to come. That is gone; but, peter assures me, it is in the extended dvd version – which he has already made and cut. It’s already waiting!
Sir Ian McKellen at the New York Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
My mom was diagnosed with cancer this October past and the word has taken on a more personal meaning for me since then. I lost an uncle last month to lung cancer and my mother lost her brother. So it is with the deepest of sadnesses that I read that Sir Ian McKellen had had prostate cancer for the last six or seven years. He has mentioned that it is not life threatening.
“I have heard of people dying from prostate cancer, and they are the unlucky ones, the people who didn’t know they had got it and it went on the rampage. But at my age if it is diagnosed it’s not life threatening.”
“I’ve had prostate cancer for six or seven years,” McKellen told the Daily Mirror tabloid. “When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn’t spread. But if it is contained in the prostate it’s no big deal.”
“I am examined regularly and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment.”
He admitted he feared the worst when he heard he had the disease.
“You do gulp when you hear the news. It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go ‘arghhh is this the end of the road?'”
Needless to say, with him returning as Gandalf, he has most certainly proven that it is NOT the end of the road.
I wish him all the very best, since he is not just an icon to me, but also my idol.
Two lovely posts. One describing how it felt to be back as Gandalf – no, that question is always asked all the time – and none of us here gets tired of hearing the answer. 🙂 And reading about how everyone is preparing for the NZ premiere. I am terribly jealous, but it’s all right, another year perhaps, or another life time. 🙂
He says, “The cast was mostly new, though: 13 dwarves and a hobbit who all wanted to know “What will it be like?” Yet the first actor I met on set was Elijah Wood, 13 years older and yet looking the same ever-youthful, modest, enthusiastic, charmer as before. That other charmer, Orlando Bloom, was back, too, living with his family next-door to me on the Wellington bay. It was old times especially when Elrond and Galadriel flew in from Australia, and our reunion a high spot of the whole shoot. Saruman joined us for our scenes in Rivendell but Christopher Lee was actually filmed later in London, though you’d never guess from the finished cut. There was less work on location, once we had revisited Hobbiton, rebuilt in Matamata. Concentrated into two months touring both islands with our caravanserai of trucks and trailers and 4-wheel drive saloons. The studios in Miramar were luxuriously improved, particularly Studio K (K for King Kong), though the Bag End interiors were housed in the old paint factory as of old.”
And then in typical McKellen humour ends with, “I noted that the front door keys were nowhere to be seen. That’s because they hang on a hook by my back door in London. Don’t tell anyone.”
The other blog post – the most recent one is about Peter J. I have been so long in keeping away from the scene that reading McKellen talk about Peter J is completely enrapturing.
At Comic Con, PJ revealed a fantastic poster of Gandalf striding around the Shire (on his way, presumably, to knock on the round, green door of Bag End). 🙂
I was quite delighted to see this because it reminded me instantly of this art illustration by John Howe.
Artwork by John Howe
I so wished I could at least go and check out the Comic Con (if not manage to get a part in the movies itself – ahem, koff, koff), but it’s not to be. So any way, it started of on July 12, 2012. 🙂 I have a few lovely videos for you to check out:
After the full panel began, Jackson said that The Hobbit “is a movie made by fans for fans.” He then introduced the cast of the movie, including McKellan and Freeman. Special guest Elijah Wood then joined the cast onstage to strong applause from the audience.
Freeman was soon asked a couple of questions about playing the title character. In talking about wearing the costume, he noted that for the first few days, “[the costume] feels like a fledgling duck“ but he became accustomed to it after a while. When asked if he felt intimidated joining a cast and crew that had been working together for so long, he said that he didn’t feel a lot of pressure and never felt intimidated. He recognized that the filmmakers wanted him specifically to serve in the role and that’s why he wanted to do it.
The actor later said that it “feels like a special place where these films are made,” noting that he “had to find his way into it.”
Elijah Wood was then asked about seeing The Hobbit footage at Comic-Con and his impressions of it. “I was blown away,” he said.
An audience member then asked Jackson about the process of selecting scenes for his films and for the director’s cut DVDs. He noted that he doesn’t shoot footage for only the special-edition DVDs. He just shoots a lot of footage, adding that they “write the script as [they’re] shooting.” He noted that the process is very organic and that it’s only at the end of the process that he decides what footage he’ll use for the theatrical release and which footage he will save for the DVDs. He later added, “We’re not very good at making short movies, unfortunately.”