[Update: Word is that del Toro himself will be playing a creature in the film!]

Guillermo del Toro (director of Hellboy and Blade II) dished to Total Film in a 10-page Q&A about his forthcoming movie adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  For those of you who somehow missed the phenomenon of Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit is a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring (aka the first movie in LOTR), also written by Tolkien.  There’s been some excitement around the question of what del Toro will do with the monsters in The Hobbit and he had this to say about the most anticipated beast in the bunch, Smaug, the dragon who sleeps on the vast treasure sought after by the film’s lead, Bilbo Baggins:

“I think one of the designs I’m the proudest of is Smaug. Obviously he took the longest. Early in production I came up with a very strong idea that would separate Smaug from every other dragon ever made. The problem was implementing that idea. But I think we’ve nailed it.”

Wow.  Maybe he decided to film a real dragon.  Who knows?  He had this to say about other creatures in the film, specifically the Wargs, a species of wolf-monsters in Tolkien’s universe:

“In The Hobbit, the creatures speak: Smaug has beautiful lines of dialogue…many creatures do. So we had to design them with a different approach because you are not just designing things that are scary. I also wanted some of the monsters in The Hobbit to be majestic. I wanted the Wargs to have a certain beauty so that you don’t have a massively clear definition: what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is not. Some of the monsters are absolutely gorgeous.”

CLICK HERE for the entire interview (which goes into great detail and gives you a sense of the epic amount of work that a small army of design and production people have undertaken for this film).  Or GO HERE for some Hobbit-related tidbits from Ian McKellan, who’ll be reprising his LOTR role of Gandalf.

The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins as he joins a band of dwarves hoping to retake a mountain that was once theirs and whose treasure is now guarded by the aforementioned dragon, Smaug.  On the way, the group encounters all sorts of creatures looking to help or eat them.  I’ll avoid going into further details so as not to SPOIL anything.  While this description sounds a lot like another LOTR flick, del Toro stated the following about The Hobbit‘s likeness to the previous films:

“All I can say is that we have an incredibly good team of people who know we are not making another Rings. We are not trying to make a quadrilogy, or a pentilogy. We’re tying to make two films that flow with those but that stand on their own completely.”

Update: del Toro left messages on the boards over at The One Ring Forums, letting fans know about the designs for the creature he himself will be playing in The Hobbit:

“I had a hand on the design of the creature and I will personally sculpt the appliances that will be applied on my face and hands. I used to sculpt the creatures for NECROPIA (my FX company) and I miss it a bit. I will have a line or two and die quickly.”

No word yet on what creature del Toro is playing – but don’t let that fact stop you guys from engaging in some wild speculation. It’s all in good fun.

Guillermo del Toro co-wrote the two-part script for The Hobbit (with help from Peter Jackson)and will direct both installments as well.   He worked as a special makeup effects artist on Bandidos and a handful of other films, and I can’t imagine that’ll hurt the The Hobbit one bit.  So, are you looking forward to a new take on Tolkien’s writing, or do you think LOTR was the type of thing that should be closely emulated?

The Hobbit will venture into theaters seeking our gold sometime in 2011.

Source: First Showing, Total Film

Update Source: The One Ring Forums via SlashFilm