Middle-earth just got closer. The first trailer for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” arrived Tuesday and while it was all too fleeting there was enough in it to stir the hearts of fans. The movie arrives next December and will be followed a year later by “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”
Both films are being directed by Peter Jackson, and for the filmmaker that is in itself an unexpected journey – he stepped in when Guillermo del Toro left the project amid financial delays and the MGM corporate crisis. Jackson, of course, directed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, one of the most celebrated and successful film franchises of all time.
The excitement about the trailer’s release went beyond just fans. Down in New Zealand, at Jackson’s headquarters, there were tingles and grins, according to Philippa Boyens, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who has worked on the writing team throughout the cinematic Tolkien voyage.
Boyens said the delays and discouragements for “The Hobbit” made her wonder if perhaps the magic was gone but now she knows it was all just part of the unpredictable quest.
“It’s been an interesting journey, I was thinking about it the other day, and at some point you have to believe in fate because it’s going really well now,” Boyens said. “I’m touching wood now. But I think if it had all happened any earlier it would have been too soon and any later we would all be too old. Things seem to come together for the right reasons.”
It’s quite the fellowship that’s going along for the ride. Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey and Martin Freeman plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins. The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Ian Holm, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Andy Serkis, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, Aidan Turner, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood.
— Geoff Boucher
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