‘Hobbit’ offers more ‘sophisticated’ Gollum, Peter Jackson says

Nov. 28, 2012 | 12:30 p.m.

It’s been nine years since the release of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” the concluding installment in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. In movie terms, that might not seem quite so long ago, but when it comes to the light-speed at which movie-making technology advances, it might as well be a lifetime.

Which explains why, when “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opens in theaters Dec. 14, audiences will see a more intricately rendered Gollum, the motion-capture creation memorably brought to the screen by actor Andy Serkis, according to Jackson.

“Gollum certainly benefits from a much more intricate muscle system,” Jackson said. “Obviously with a CGI character you’re building a character in much the same way as a real creature is built. You build the bones, the skeletons, the muscles. You put layers of fat on. You put a layer of skin on which has to have a translucency depending on what the character is.”

PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’

“Gollum is a much more sophisticated performer now than he was 10 years ago,” Jackson continued, though he made a point to note that the creature, disfigured by his own dark obsession, will still seem quite familiar. “We’ve deliberately made him look the same. I really wanted ‘The Hobbit’ to very much have a consistency with the first three movies.”

Jackson spoke with Hero Complex contributor John Horn at Comic-Con International in July, just before announcing that the two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit” would become a trilogy. Watch the second part of their conversation above, and look for a third installment Thursday.

In this segment of the interview, the filmmaker discussed the changing nature of visual effects and how the advances in technology offer him new creative freedoms as a storyteller.

“Anything you can imagine you can put on film,” Jackson said.

Jackson, of course, has employed a groundbreaking, though controversial, new technology for his latest Tolkien films, shooting the productions in  a revolutionary 48-frames-per-second-format — a new projection technique that’s designed to offer viewers a hyper-realistic “immersive” experience.

Hero Complex will host a free IMAX screening of Jackson’s highly anticipated fantasy epic on Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX  — three days before the movie’s official release.

To RSVP for the screening, log on to latimes.com/hobbit starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4; RSVPs will close as soon as the screening is full.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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