March 19, 2013 | 2:30 p.m.
For his turn as dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” actor Richard Armitage drew inspiration from a very different regal figure created not by J.R.R. Tolkien, but rather William Shakespeare. “I was in a production of ‘Macbeth,’” Armitage told Hero Complex on the occasion of the film’s release last December. “So I went back to all my notes about ‘Macbeth,’ because I just felt there was something about that character unwinding that was relevant to Thorin unwinding in this story.” Thorin, of course, plays a key role in the first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s beloved 1937 children’s novel, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which makes the trek to Blu-ray and DVD this week. Audiences have a new opportunity to enjoy Armitage’s performance as the mighty warrior who joins forces with […]
Feb. 28, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.
It’s going to take a little longer to get there and back again. Warner Bros. confirmed today that ”The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” the third film in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s landmark 1937 children’s novel, will be released Dec. 17, 2014. The film originally had been set to open July 18, 2014. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ The first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part expedition, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” opened in December and went on to gross more than $300 million at the domestic box office. The film chronicles the initial leg of Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) trek over the Misty Mountains to help Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of dwarf followers reclaim their lost treasure and their homeland. For the films, Jackson utilized a groundbreaking 48-frames-per-second technology, a new projection technique […]
Dec. 18, 2012 | 11:41 a.m.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” broke a December box-office record by collecting $84.8 million over its debut weekend, but Hero Complex didn’t need the figures to know that J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel would be popular. The first of Peter Jackson’s planned three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s landmark 1937 novel, “Unexpected Journey” chronicles the initial leg of Bilbo Baggins’ trek over the Misty Mountains to help Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of dwarf followers reclaim their lost treasure and their homeland. The second movie, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” is due next year, with the final chapter, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” due for release in 2014. We’ve counted down to the film’s theatrical release with exclusive interviews and photo galleries. Now that the spoiler-wary have had a chance to see “An Unexpected Journey” in […]
Dec. 17, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
It’s technically a small part in a big movie, but that’s just because Bilbo Baggins isn’t that large. For Martin Freeman, who plays the diminutive title role in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy, the actor has never stood taller. Best known for his current role as Dr. John Watson in the BBC’s modern-day “Sherlock” and past work on Britain’s “The Office,” the 41-year-old actor will be a presence in American multiplexes for a long time to come. In addition to starring in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opened to a strong $84.8 million in its first weekend, Freeman returns in next December’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and 2014’s “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” Because the story unfolds several decades before “The Lord of the Rings” takes place, the production was unable to recast the 81-year-old Ian […]
Dec. 13, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
It’s easy to pick out Bifur from the 13 dwarfs in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” He’s the one with the giant ax in his head. The detail was a controversial filmmaking decision, eliciting a petition to director Peter Jackson from fans who complained that Bifur had no such injury in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit,” on which the film trilogy is based. But for Bifur actor William Kircher, the ax provided a boon of material for developing his character. “In medieval times, people would get wounds like that, and they had to leave it because taking it out was more dangerous,” Kircher said. “Straightaway I went and started researching what that kind of injury can do to you. It’s kind of like getting a stroke, so it can affect their speech and the way they think, and they zone out, so I […]
Dec. 12, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” Thorin Oakenshield, a mighty warrior and proud heir of a dwarf king, serves as a foil to the book’s unlikely hero Bilbo Baggins, a humble hobbit with a love for food, comfort and a simple life. While Bilbo achieves his own kind of courage, Thorin’s story is marked by tragedy. For Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Tolkien’s tale, inspiration for the character came from the story of a different tragic king by another famous English writer — William Shakespeare. “I was in a production of ‘Macbeth,’” Armitage said. “So I went back to all my notes about ‘Macbeth,’ because I just felt there was something about that character unwinding that was relevant to Thorin unwinding in this story.” PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” […]
Dec. 11, 2012 | 2:10 p.m.
“‘I’ve always tried to make movies that pull the audience out of their seats. … I want audiences to be transported.” That was Peter Jackson speaking earlier this year about what he was hoping to achieve with his return to Middle-earth. With the first installment in that epic saga, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” set to open Friday, we thought it might be fun to offer you the chance to watch the entirety of Peter Jackson’s conversation with Hero Complex contributor John Horn, which was recorded at Comic-Con International in July, just before the announcement that the two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit” would become a trilogy. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ In the interview, the filmmaker revealed how he selected the footage that was unveiled at the pop culture expo, describing the scenes as “more character-based” while still speaking […]
Dec. 10, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.
One of the most memorable dwarfs in “The Hobbit” is Bombur, described by J.R.R. Tolkien as “immensely fat and heavy.” The role was big in more ways than one for Stephen Hunter, the Sydney-based actor who brings the character to life in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opens in theaters Friday. The Peter Jackson-directed trilogy is the first major feature film for Hunter, whose previous work includes parts in Australian television series. Hero Complex spoke with Hunter about landing the role, working with the brotherhood of dwarfs and grappling with his character’s enormous girth. HC: Can you tell us a little bit about auditioning? How did you get the role? SH: I actually auditioned for “The Lord of the Rings” right at the very start. … I just did a general audition a long time ago, and it was […]
Dec. 07, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
“There and Back Again” is the subtitle of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” and it would certainly serve handily for a biography of many of those involved in taking the book to film, though none perhaps as well as Philippa Boyens. Asked one day in 1997 if, as a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, she might have any interest in helping out friends and fellow New Zealanders Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh adapt “The Lord of the Rings” for film, Boyens, a former teacher and then executive director of the New Zealand Writers Guild, shrugged and said, “Sure, why not?” “I figured it would last a couple of weeks,” she says now, laughing at the memory, “maybe a month.” Instead she, like so many Tolkien characters, was swept away on a life-changing adventure, down roads long and sometimes perilous. Fifteen years later, […]
Dec. 06, 2012 | 11:47 a.m.
The theatrical release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is only a week away, but for those Peter Jackson fans who can’t stand the wait, here’s a Hero Complex exclusive sneak peek at a scene from the film. The clip, which runs 1 minute and 11 seconds, foreshadows the events of “The Lord of the Rings,” set 60 years after “The Hobbit,” and features Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Christopher Lee as Saruman sitting in council in the Elven city of Rivendell. Against a gorgeous backdrop of a waterfall at sunset, the scene reveals Gandalf’s motivation in helping Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarfs reclaim their home kingdom from the dragon Smaug. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ “Smaug owes allegiance to no one, but if he should side with the […]