Guillermo del Toro's First Official Hobbit Interview
By 2010, Guillermo del Toro is going to be a household name. Now that he's officially signed and moving forward on The Hobbit, he's become the "talk of the town." Another name that's going to be well-known by 2010 - TheOneRing.net. The all-things-Tolkien fansite has become known for its coverage of every little detail surrounding the Lord of the Rings films, and they've kicked off the upcoming four years of Hobbit coverage by landing the very first interview with Guillermo since he announced it was official. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan like myself and hungry for details, it's a great read, what I might call our very, very first introduction to the many great years of production to come.
There are so many great details in the interview, I don't know where to start. As we confirmed previously, Sir Ian McKellen is definitely in as Gandalf, which is such a huge relief to hear. Guillermo confirms that he recently had a meeting with McKellen, who is on board, and so is Andy Serkis, who provided the voice and physicality to Gollum / Smeagol. In addition to those two, he goes on to mention: composer Howard Shore, conceptual designers John Howe and Alan Lee, Weta Workshop prosthetics supervisor Gino Acevedo, and Weta Workshop armor and miniatures supervisor Richard Taylor, as people he has chatted with and will be on-board for The Hobbit yet again. "The essential elements for keeping continuity are on track," del Toro said, adding, "I'm doing this to ensure that whatever we do we keep continuity with the other films."
They're already starting work on the project this summer, but that's just because there is so much to do, including this little tidbit which makes me happy to hear: "Just the reforestation of The Shire, re-planting all those trees and plants will take months, and we're going to be as exact as possible." It sounds like they're fully tackling continuity, but what about differences? It seems the biggest concerns lie in how del Toro will change the world of Middle Earth in comparison to what Peter Jackson created in Lord of the Rings. Don't be too concerned, though, because everything is in place to make The Hobbit exactly as imagined, with as much connection to Lord of the Rings as is necessary. Guillermo goes on to talk about the actual differences in the stories and the progression within the book.
"What I'm trying to do is keep the elements in place but allow you to feel a progression from 'The Hobbit' until 'The Return of the King'. I believe 'The Hobbit' is a very crucial volume in The Lord of the Rings, it is a narrative that starts out very much in an innocent and golden way. It is permeated from England going through World War One, so there is a loss of innocence and a darker tone as the book and the film progresses. We'll be doing that in the first film, taking you from a time of more purity to a darker reality throughout the film, but I think that is in the spirit of the book. All these guys, Alan Lee, John Howe, these guys are integral for us to map out that progress in the two movies, and allow you to completely blend in to the universe that is already in place. But this will be a progression, it should not feel at the start of the film that this is the same time (as the beginning of 'Fellowship')."
There have been recent rumblings around the web saying that Guillermo "hates Hobbits" and fantasy, but the quote is from two years ago and pulled completely out of context. In fact, in reality, it's just the opposite. In the last part of the interview, Guillermo actually mentions how much he loves this world. Beyond that, hearing his own enthusiasm has reaffirmed my confidence in him, even though I never lost any to begin with. Although Peter Jackson won't be directing, it definitely sounds like Guillermo was the next best choice - one that in 2010 we will realize was right.
"Another thing people will notice, at the beginning of the film will be the palette, that will be slightly different, the world will be the same but it will be a more 'golden' world, a more wide-eyed world. But by no means will we depart from the canon, we will take the three previous films as canon. When I become part of a world that I love, such as this, I really come with a lot of enthusiasm and hard work, and we know we are recreating and creating a world that is part of the mythos of millions of people and we will approach it as passionately and respectfully as it needs to be taken."
The last area that really concerns fans is the second film, to be released in 2011, that will be an originally written film that connects the story in the first book with the story in The Fellowship of the Ring. This was previously discovered when it was announced that The Hobbit would be two films, because the first will actually be an adaptation of the entire book while the second will span the 50 to 60 years between the end of Hobbit and beginning of Fellowship of the Rings. Guillermo addresses the issue, saying that he talked with Jackson specifically about it. "There will be certain things that we will see from the first movie but from a different point of view, but it will feel like a volume, in the 5 volumes of the entire story. It will not feel like a bridge, I've been hearing it called 'a bridge film', it's not, it's an integral chapter of the story, and I think we're all on the same page."
At this point I'm just anxious to see this project really start and see the wonderful world of Middle Earth come together again. In fact, I may throw in Lord of the Rings on DVD tonight just to get excited again. I'm confident that Guillermo del Toro was the right choice for these movies and I'm very anxious (although it won't be for two years) to see how he will recreate that same world. Return of the King is my own all-time favorite movie and I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am that J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved world is returning to the big screen under the direction of one of my all-time favorite directors. Make sure you check out the full interview over on TheOneRing.net.