We sat down and talked to Peter Jackson, the director of The Hobbit (YES, WE DID!) and found out some pretty crazy stuff about everybody's favorite furry-footed halfling. Think it was all fun and games and smooth sailing? Think again, Tolkien fans!
Martin Freeman ALMOST didn't play Bilbo
"Martin was the only person we ever wanted for the role," Jackson told us. But the gods of TV and Film conspired against them! The film was delayed so many times, that by the time a shooting schedule was in place, Martin had already committed to filming season 2 of Sherlock. And while we're certainly glad he did that (what would Sherlock be without Freeman's Watson, after all) The Hobbit wouldn't have worked without him. "Unless we got this bit of casting right, we knew it wouldn't work," Jackson said. So, what did they do? Peter convinced the movie studio to take a TWO MONTH BREAK in the middle of filming, just so Martin could go back and film Sherlock. Now that's commitment!
The extra material in the movie is actually from The Lord of the Rings
"A lot of the material is published at the end of Return of the King," Said Peter. While it's true, there are many embellishments throughout the movie to flesh out the story, Jackson was eager to add some depth to the tale using bits and pieces from the LotR appendices. "[The Hobbit is] written at a very breathless pace," Jackson added, "It's really a children's bedtime story."
Peter Jackson wasn't going to direct The Hobbit at first
That's right! Why, you ask? "I thought I wouldn't enjoy it," Jackson said, "because I thought I'd be competing against myself." Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) was originally supposed to direct but, again due to the movie being delayed, he had to drop out. At that point Jackson stepped back into the directing spotlight, and we're glad he did. It seemed like he was glad he did, too. "There's a lot of charm and humor that The Hobbit has that The Lord of the Rings doesn't. I enjoyed that."
The scene between Gollum and Bilbo was the very first thing they shot
Even though it comes over halfway through An Unexpected Journey, the iconic scene that centers around the "One Ring" was the very first thing put to film. Peter explained it by saying "At that stage of shooting, having only two actors to work with was a good way to start." That doesn't mean it was easy! "It's tricky when you're shooting a scene in the middle of the film," Jackson explained, "because you have to think about everything that's come before that you haven't shot yet."
Peter Jackson would love to see The Lord of the Rings converted to 3D
Now, bear in mind, this is not a decision that is his to make, but if he had it his way, he said he'd be behind it. "I'd be happy to do it, if the studio decided to do it." He cited the fact that converting old films to 3D sometimes makes money (Titanic) and sometimes doesn't (Star Wars) so it isn't assumed that Warner Brothers would commit to that. But if they do, we'll be first in line to see them!
What question would you ask Peter Jackson if you could?