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. 14, 2012 | 1:47 p.m.
Ian McKellen speaks in a wise, mellifluous baritone that contains just a hint of impish glee. Over the course of his decades-long career, he’s used that voice to command armies on stage and on screen, holding audiences rapt in an array of roles, though McKellen, 73, might be most closely associated with characters devised by an unlikely quartet of dreamers — Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Of course, it’s Gandalf the Grey — rather than Kings Lear or Richard, or even Magneto, the electrifying foil to the X-Men’s Professor Charles Xavier — who’s occupied McKellen’s thoughts in recent weeks. The actor has undertaken the fairly daunting work of promoting his role in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which arrived in theaters Friday amid mixed reviews, though early criticism was hardly sufficient to quell fan enthusiasm. The first […]
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. 11, 2012 | 11:53 a.m.
Just a reminder that the Hero Complex advance screening of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is happening at 7 tonight at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX — that’s three days before the movie’s official release. For those lucky enough to have snagged a seat in the auditorium, I have good news — you’ll also be receiving a set of four exclusive collector’s posters created as part of Imax’s 12:01 artwork program. Each poster features a different character image — Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum and Thorin Oakenshield — and outside of our screening, these prints are being distributed only at Imax screenings of the film taking place at 12:01 a.m. Friday. We’ll show “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 48 frames per second tonight, and in case you missed it, you might want to check out the following clip with director […]
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. 09, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
Sometimes a performance changes an actor’s life– and sometimes it revolutionizes an entire industry. Both occurred when English actor Andy Serkis played the part of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the first photo-realistic movie character created using the technique of performance capture. Now Serkis is reprising his role as Middle-earth’s sallow-skinned “preciousssssss”-seeking cave dweller in Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opens Dec. 14. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit’ For Serkis, who has since become a digital acting specialist in movies like “King Kong,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Adventures of Tintin,” it was surprisingly hard to return to a character whom he had helped make iconic. “Every single day of my life I’m reminded of Gollum in some shape or form, with someone walking up to me asking me […]
Dec. 08, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
The theatrical release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is just around the corner, but in the meantime, here’s a look at some scenes from the film — the first in director Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien. The images released so far reveal much of the film’s set design, hair and makeup, costumes and more, providing peeks at the Shire, Rivendell, the Misty Mountains and the cottage of wizard Radagast the Brown. The photos also highlight some of WETA Digital’s wizardry with goblins, trolls, stone giants and, of course, the creature Gollum, reprised by Andy Serkis. Though some of the characters and places in the photos are familiar from director Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, they were repainted with a different brush for “The Hobbit” films, said production designer […]