Dec. 18, 2014 | 1:47 p.m.
Of all the visually striking sequences in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” one of the most arresting comes well into the film, the final installment in Peter Jackson’s latest fantasy trilogy, where dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield is wrestling with the greed and arrogance that threaten to rob him of his honor. At a special Hero Complex fan screening of “Five Armies” on Dec. 11 at New York’s AMC 34th Street 14 & IMAX, Thorin actor Richard Armitage explained how that scene came together — it was born out of collaboration between Armitage and Jackson. “There were so many moments of experimentation throughout the course of filming, but this was toward the end of the shoot,” said Armitage, seated beside his “Hobbit” costar Lee Pace. “It was just a simple stage direction which said, ‘Thorin sees his reflection […]
Dec. 18, 2014 | 1:40 p.m.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” filmmakers Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are bidding Middle-earth goodbye after six films. “Five Armies,” which caps “The Hobbit” prequel trilogy, is in theaters, and though director Jackson says he’s “too close” to the movies to know if they’re good, fans of the series appear to be showing up in force at the box office. “Five Armies” grossed more than $11 million in domestic ticket sales for opening-night showings Tuesday, in addition to the roughly $125 million it has earned overseas. For Jackson and Boyens, who spoke to Hero Complex via phone prior to the film’s release, it’s been a long journey from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” which introduced moviegoers to writer J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world more than a decade ago, to […]
Dec. 18, 2014 | 11:23 a.m.
Even for the stars of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” the film’s impressive visual scale can come as something of a surprise. At a special Hero Complex fan screening of the film on Dec. 11 at New York’s AMC 34th Street 14 & IMAX, actors Lee Pace, who plays the Elven king Thandruil, and Richard Armitage, who stars as the dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, explained what it’s like to watch director Peter Jackson’s vision unspool on screen after having spent so much time on the New Zealand set. “You see a lot of stuff that you never knew was there when you were shooting it,” Pace said. “I remember talking to Pete about the army, ‘It’s going to be a big army, right?’ ‘Oh yeah, it’s going to be big.’… Then I watch the movie back and […]
Dec. 17, 2014 | 3:33 p.m.
Peter Jackson’s big-screen adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is coming to a close with “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” which opens in U.S. theaters tonight. “Five Armies” caps a saga consisting of six feature films set in Tolkien’s elaborate fantasy world Middle-earth — a project that began more than a decade ago with Jackson’s acclaimed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The third film in that series, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” won 11 Oscars, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and best visual effects. Although “Five Armies” does not seem destined for similar awards gold, fans of Tolkien and Jackson have already turned out in force overseas; the film has earned more than $122 million at the worldwide box office since opening last week. “Five Armies” […]
Dec. 17, 2014 | 4:00 a.m.
Richard Armitage came to the New Zealand set of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” primed for combat. The concluding installment of Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel features clashing tribes of warriors racing into conflict over an unimaginably vast treasure inside the mountain kingdom of Erebor. Armitage, the English actor who plays hirsute dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, has been preparing for battle since his acting school days with some very talented classmates. “One of the reasons I went to drama school was because I really wanted to learn stage fighting,” a clean-shaven Armitage explained recently. “Weirdly enough, David Oyelowo was my fight partner at drama school — Benedict was maybe two years behind me…. We won so many competitions together. I’ve still got the trophy on my mantel. It’s a little helmet on a […]
Dec. 16, 2014 | 12:09 p.m.
Few actors have been a part of as many celebrated genre stories as Andy Serkis. Following the success of the sequel “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the English actor is slated to appear in next year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” But if there were a pivotal moment in Serkis’ career, it was his portrayal of the tragic creature Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy more than a decade ago — a role that paved the way for the next chapter in his career and pioneered the performance-capture acting and technology that served as a launchpad for his London studio, the Imaginarium. Now, Serkis’ work on “The Hobbit” marks another turning point in his career — the transition from the screen to the director’s chair. In addition to […]
Dec. 14, 2014 | 12:43 p.m.
With “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” arriving in theaters Wednesday, a number of the film’s stars have hit the promotional trail — with even the fearsome dragon Smaug turning in a memorable appearance on “The Colbert Report.” Not to be outdone, Bilbo Baggins actor Martin Freeman hosted “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, and in a brilliant segment, spoofed not only Peter Jackson’s J.R.R. Tolkien films, but also Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s memorable comedy “The Office,” in which Freeman played the likeable, down-on-his-luck Tim Canterbury. Watch the sketch below. Fans of the British “Office” will recognize some memorable lines and scenes directly reference dialog and situations from the series, with Tolkien creations standing in for some of the original characters. The final film in the “Hobbit” series, “Five Armies” picks up where last year’s “The Desolation of Smaug” […]
Dec. 12, 2014 | 10:48 a.m.
The first trailer for “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” is out, offering a glimpse of Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) in action as they prepare to fight back against the cruel autocrat who tried to kill them in the first film. “Insurgent,” based on the second novel in Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA trilogy, follows young heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a girl who discovers she doesn’t fit neatly into one of five rigidly divided societal factions in a dystopian future version of Chicago, but rather has aptitude for multiple factions — a dangerous trait known as divergence. INTERACTIVE: ‘Insurgent’ 3-D posters In the first film, “Divergent,” which drew more than $288 million at the international box office earlier this year, Tris tried to hide her abilities and joined Dauntless, the faction based on bravery, where she met love interest Four (James). […]
Dec. 11, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
“The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” a documentary that offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the famed Studio Ghibli in Japan, is out on digital platforms this week. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a scene from the film, which depicts the inner workings of the animation studio behind the acclaimed films “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke” and the Academy Award winner “Spirited Away,” among others. In “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” director Mami Sunada (“Death of a Japanese Salesman”) follows legendary director and Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki (“The Wind Rises”), co-founder and director Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”), and producer Toshio Suzuki over the course of a year. Sunada documented the studio’s rush to complete Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” and Takahata’s “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya,” both released in 2013. The exclusive clip […]
Dec. 10, 2014 | 5:26 p.m.
One of the most controversial decisions “The Hobbit” filmmakers made was the addition of Silvan elf warrior Tauriel, an entirely new character not present in J.R.R. Tolkien’s story. And perhaps nobody was more suspicious of changes than Evangeline Lilly, the “Lost” alumna who portrayed the new character in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” in theaters next week. “I was adamant that I wouldn’t see [‘The Lord of the Rings’] films because there was no way that anybody was going to be able to re-create what I had imagined in my mind on the screen,” the self-described Tolkien purist told Hero Complex last year. But the efforts of screenwriters Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to craft a character whose presence “didn’t feel jarring” and “felt like she belonged” in […]