Dec. 15, 2013 | 8:21 a.m.
In “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Peter Jackson’s latest fantasy adapted from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Armitage’s dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield is as much the focus of the story as Martin Freeman’s Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. The new film tracks the unlikely partners and the other members of their company as they continue their quest across Middle-earth to defeat the evil dragon Smaug and reclaim the treasure-filled city of Erebor beneath the Lonely Mountain. Meanwhile, Ian McKellen’s wizard Gandalf sets out on a mission of his own, hoping to determine the strength of a primal evil. Critics have responded warmly to this, the second film in a planned trilogy that concludes with next year’s “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” (The Times’ Betsy Sharkey writes, “In the wake of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ last year’s dreary, dense, […]
Dec. 14, 2013 | 9:37 a.m.
When it comes to the two different incarnations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s heroic wizard, Ian McKellen prefers Gandalf the Grey. “He’s more fun, isn’t he?” McKellen said earlier this week, speaking at a special Hero Complex preview screening of his new film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” “He’s more fun to play. He’s scruffy and less driven. We all need Gandalf the White when it comes to the really important business of saving the world, but when you’re down having a drink in Hobbiton, isn’t it Gandalf the Grey you want to be with rather than the other one? That was my feeling.” It was just one of the subjects that the man Peter Jackson dubbed “the guardian of Tolkien” discussed during an onstage Q&A at New York’s AMC 34th Street 14 & IMAX on Monday. The respected actor also […]
Dec. 12, 2013 | 4:48 p.m.
Christopher Lee might not appear in Peter Jackson’s latest fantasy, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in the filmmaker’s most recent cinematic trilogy based on the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien that arrives in theaters Friday. But the venerable actor has taken to the Internet to promise that his wizard Saruman gets plenty of screen time in next year’s final movie in the saga, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” “There’s a lot of me in it, a lot,” said Lee of the film that opens Dec. 17, 2014. He added that viewers can also expect to see “a tremendous amount of fighting, sword play, understanding, sympathy, kindness towards Galadriel, towards Gandalf. I’m not saying anymore because that would give the story away. But it’s the third film in which I have the most to do.” “I hope […]
Dec. 12, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.
And now, Sir Ian McKellen would like to make a clarification with regard to one of the most famous lines uttered by his wise wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films. “You know, ‘You shall not pass’ isn’t in the book at all,” the legendary English actor pointed out, referring to the fantastic literature of J.R.R. Tolkien. “‘You cannot pass’ is what Tolkien wrote. We got it wrong.” The man who Peter Jackson dubbed “the guardian of Tolkien” held forth on a wide range of subjects earlier this week at a special Hero Complex screening of the new fantasy “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in Jackson’s latest trilogy of films set in Middle-earth. Arriving in theaters Friday, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” sees Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continue on his journey to assist […]
Dec. 12, 2013 | 11:51 a.m.
Welsh actor Luke Evans has a penchant for larger-than-life characters. He has played Apollo in “Clash of the Titans” and Zeus in “Immortals,” and in the upcoming “Dracula Untold,” he’s taking on the role of Vlad Tepes, the historical warrior who inspired Bram Stoker’s mythic vampire. For his role in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in filmmaker Peter Jackson’s latest trilogy based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, Evans is portraying the first human to enter the saga, the brave Bard the Bowman. Hero Complex caught up with the actor in Beverly Hills last week to chat about the character and his experiences filming with Jackson in New Zealand, as well as what’s ahead for Evans, who’s preparing to star in a new telling of “The Crow,” which he’s set to begin shooting next year. Be […]
Dec. 11, 2013 | 4:09 p.m.
When it came time to craft “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second installment in their latest trilogy of movies based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, filmmaker Peter Jackson and his screenwriting partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens had a decision to make. The story, as they saw it, was crying out for a dynamic female character. So, they invented one. With the film arriving in theaters Friday, audiences soon will have the opportunity to meet Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel, the first character entirely crafted by Jackson and his creative counterparts for the screen. She’s a fierce warrior, the captain of the guard in the forest of Mirkwood, and she’s apt to be controversial, merely because she represents perhaps the greatest digression yet from Tolkien’s classic texts. Hero Complex caught up with Boyens to discuss Tauriel in greater detail, […]
Dec. 10, 2013 | 2:25 p.m.
First he was spending time with Loki actor Tom Hiddleston. Now, Cookie Monster’s starring in a new “Sesame Street” “Lord of the Rings” parody that arrives just in time to coincide with the release of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s latest adventure based on the writings of author J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” due in theaters Friday. Jackson’s new fantasy blockbuster centers largely on the middle section of Tolkien’s landmark 1937 children’s novel, but for its latest skit spoofing pop culture, the “Sesame Street” masterminds returned to his previous Tolkien trilogy, the “Lord of the Rings,” for ideas for “Lord of the Crumbs.” Here, Cookie Monster is seeking the long-lost recipe for the “one dessert to rule them all” — chocolate chip cookies, naturally — and with the help of a Galadriel-inspired guide, he attempts to remember how to […]
Dec. 10, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Charting a course through Middle-earth can be nearly as taxing as surviving an international press tour for an end-of-year blockbuster. But as Peter Jackson posed on a giant chair flown in from New Zealand from the set of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” he appeared none the worse for wear. Although the writer-director’s salt-and-pepper curls fell at slightly unruly angles, and his white dress shirt looked more comfortably lived in than freshly pressed, Jackson himself was in good humor. His newest film based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, which opens in theaters Friday, already had won praise from a chain of admirers, many of whom compared its jovial spirit to the high-water mark of Jackson’s career, his epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “Quite a few people are saying that,” Jackson said last week, sipping tea at a […]
Dec. 10, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” barrels into theaters Friday, but for fans who can’t wait to return to Middle-earth, here’s a sneak peek at the movie. “Desolation” is the second installment in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film picks up where “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” left off, after Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the company of dwarfs barely escape from a band of bloodthirsty orcs. The orcs are still in pursuit in the second film, but the travelers must also face enormous spiders, the dangerous Mirkwood elves and, of course, the eponymous dragon, Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). The images released so far provide peeks at the forest realm of the Mirkwood elves, the gloomy waters of Esgaroth (also known as Lake-town) and the treasures of Erebor, the […]
Dec. 03, 2013 | 1:08 p.m.
Middle-Earth’s denizens journeyed to Hollywood on Monday night for the world premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of Peter Jackson’s three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, “The Hobbit.” The film’s stars hit the shrub- and leaf-adorned black carpet in front of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to fête the latest adaptation of the mystical realm where hobbits, dwarves, elves, orcs and goblins dwell. The carpet was designed to echo the sylvan realm of Mirkwood, which plays an important role in the new film, set to open in theaters Dec. 13. Dwarf-prince Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company, which includes Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), travel through the forest on the next leg of their quest to reclaim Erebor, the treasure-filled city under the Lonely Mountain that was usurped from Thorin’s ancestors by the dragon […]