There has been plenty of speculation and gossip surrounding the upcoming
production of The Hobbit. What is fact what is fiction? I’ll try to shed light on the mystery as best I can:
Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh und Philippa Boyens have just completed
the script for the two Hobbit films due out in theaters 2011 and 2012, respectively. Del Toro will direct the first film,
the second one does not yet have a director attached. Speculations have Peter Jackson returning to take the helm, but again
this is mere speculation at this time.
The Hobbit will be jointly produced
by Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films, New Line Cinema and MGM who holds the rights to the book. Warner Bros. will launch
the film in the US, MGM will handle international distribution.
though the production has not yet been green lit by the studio Jackson and Del Toro have been busy designing and reviewing
literally hundreds of sketches for costumes, props and set design. The iconic Hobbit set which has been partially maintained
at a sheep farm near Matamata has been under (re)construction since July. So things are definitely getting serious down in
New Zealand. But what of the cast? Can we expect any of the familiar faces from LOTR?
Since the production does not yet have a green light no contracts have been signed. However, earlier this year when
I was in New Zealand sources close to the production have revealed to me that both Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis are eager
to reprise their respective roles as Gandalf and Gollum and can pretty much be considered to be on board.
This is corroborated by a statement KcKellen made a few days ago upon reading the script: “As
Peter [Jackson] has said, they loved writing Gandalf [for The Hobbit] because they knew who they were writing him for…
There are a lot of characters in The Hobbit, including, crucially, Bilbo, and they don’t know who’s going to play
Bilbo. So it’s extremely attractive that this part has been written for me. The other Gandalf was written for, well,
just as Gandalf. There’s lots for me to enjoy, in all sorts of ways. And I couldn’t be happier. But I’m
sworn to secrecy. I’m not to say anything at all about the script.”
Further unconfirmed cast member include Ron Perlman (Thorin), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), and the latest rumors have Viggo
Mortenson contemplating a return to Middle Earth. It is confirmed, however, that Director Guillermo del Toro will appear in
the film as some creature, “…not an important one, just a background monster!”
Once again the entire film will be shot across New Zealand, expect cameras to roll March or April 2010
when both movies will be shot wall to wall.