Ian McKellen Offers Early ‘Hobbit’ Update

Published 4 years ago by

Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey in The Hobbit Ian McKellen Offers Early Hobbit Update

Ian McKellen was a formidable presence as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy – being, among other things, the only actor in the series to receive an Oscar nomination for his efforts. It took a while for the veteran actor to officially sign on for Jackson’s two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, but that was the least of the project’s pre-production woes.

Principal photography on the Hobbit movies begins in less than two weeks time, and McKellen has already provided fans with an early update that concerns Martin Freeman‘s costume tests as a young Bilbo Baggins.

Jackson and his filmmaking crew are sparing no expenses in realizing J.R.R. Tolkien’s original tale of a grey-haired wizard, thirteen adventurous dwarves, and one flustered hobbit who set out on a grand adventure in Middle-Earth. The two Hobbit films are estimated to have a production budget around $500 million combined and will be shot using state-of-the-art 3D RED EPIC digital cameras, which are far more amiable and mobile than standard 3D camera rigs.

McKellen offered a teaser of what Freeman as Bilbo will look like in three dimensions with the following story, which was posted on his official site:

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.

the hobbit cast photo of bilbo and the dwarves Ian McKellen Offers Early Hobbit Update

Tolkien’s original Hobbit is a charming fantasy yarn full of colorful characters and strange beasts (trolls, dragons) that were not glimpsed in Jackson’s Rings trilogy. It’s nowhere near the grandiose drama or epic adventure story that those three films were, but that’s arguably for the best. Jackson and his fellow filmmakers have already endured enough production issues without having to be concerned about recapturing the same tone and sweeping atmosphere of the trilogy as well.

Recall also that although Guillermo del Toro vacated the director’s chair some nine months ago, he still spent two years crafting the Hobbit screenplays and designing the films’ fantastical creatures and locations. Jackson will certainly put his own visual stamp on the project as a director, but del Toro’s touch should still shine through to some degree in the final product.

The world will at last get to see The Hobbit brought to life when the first film (which may have a subtitle other than Part 1) arrives in December of 2012, followed by the second chapter a year later.

Source: Ian McKellen

TAGS: The hobbit
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I am excited about these films, but I sure hope that they will be in the theaters in 2D as well as the 3D.

  2. Good news fer sure..My most anticipated film for next year!!

  3. Really looking forward to seeing these’s movies, I just hope that the 3-D does not interfere with them or ends up making them worse. God forbid. *trembling sigh*

  4. Excited they’re finally getting ready to shoot. Definitely my most anticipated film of 2012.


  5. All news on the hobbit is good news, but why do they have to make this in 3D?

  6. I agree with 3D from an artistic viewpoint, and I can understand why they chose it based on a business viewpoint, and both viewpoints are based on Avatar.

    Despite a lukewarm storyline, Avatar was an incredible film to me. And I watched it in both 2D and 3D, and I must say I enjoyed 3D a lot more. The WAY it was done was perfect, the 3D was used to greatly enhance the immersion of the audience in the film.

    The thing is, many people complain that the 3D glasses are annoying, that 3D hurts their eyes, or they just don’t like it.

    Unfortunately, those people do not seem to be in the majority, because Avatar IS either the highest or second highest grossing film of all time (depending on how you count it) and the vast, vast majority of people who saw it saw it in 3D. So, as a studio, there’s a strong financial reason to do so.

    Furthermore, Jackson is a big proponent of 3D (witness the ‘King Kong’ 3D virtual ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood, which he designed from the ground up) and he thinks it’s the future of filmmaking. I trust him to do a good job with it.

  7. I’ll wait on seeing the movie for myself before passing judgment on the whole 3D issue.

    But either way I’m very, very glad to see Sir McKellan actively involved again just in time to be able to reprise his role as Gandalf for two more movies.

    And it seems as though he should also have been a writer. His blogs are always very nicely written.

  8. Sounds very interesting.

  9. Have they contacted Iam Holm about returning yet? I hope they follow through on that. Also, /agree on all the 2D support.

  10. WHAT about Hugo Weaving???! So far we have heard nothing about who is playing Elrond, good or bad. I cannot imagine they would re-cast him and his part would be small enough that it shouldn’t interfere with anything else Weaving has going. ARG! :/

    Crosses fingers that nothing else will go wrong. We don’t need another debacle like Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote.

    • The only bit I could find while scouring the net was this…..

      “When asked about reprising the role, Weaving replied that he was game, but hadn’t officially been approached.”

      That was dated March 1, 2011. Only 10 days ago. How could they not have even asked him yet???! Insanity.

  11. Don’t like the idea of 3-D I hope Jackson and the cinematopgraphy team are able to implement it correctly.