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Guillermo del Toro's First Official Hobbit Interview

by
April 27, 2008
Source: TheOneRing.net

Guillermo del Toro

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.

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  • Kyle A. K.
    I am skeptical about the second 'hobbit' movie..I am hardly a Middle Earth superfan..but when they are saying they will do a movie based off 'new material' I have to roll my eyes a little bit.
  • bltzie
    hm.. I like what he said. And Makeup and special effectswise he's covered by weta. An I imagine Peter will be on set from time to time, smacking Del Toro when he starts to add 100 eyed winged goblins ;). Now the BIG question is... who is going to be Bilbo Baggins?
  • nha
    Lets hope Weta listen to Del Toro and stick to his vision - I dont want another LOTR! I think Del Toro can tell this story much better than Peter could have... he has more skill in story telling and visual genius. Lets hope he's given free reign.
  • Anthony
    I love to hear that Guillermo is doing everything he can to keep continuity between the world Jackson created. He isn't just creating another film to squeeze more money out of the Lord of the Rings movies that already have an established fan base but is creating the film for the sake of the film. I also think that it is cool to hear that there will be two films and the second is a completely original story that connects the hobbit to the fellowship.
  • jason_md2020
    The picture you posted says it all. If Jackson is good with it, then it's gonna work. All Hail the pudgy bearded folk!
  • dave
    From my reading of the inteview I'm not sure if the bridge is going to be set after the hobbit: he says that we will see events from the hobbit from a different point of view, from this I'm thinking they will be following the gandalf/white council's stories, starting from even before the hobbit and ending sometime after the hobbit. More of a 'paralell' film. This would give you a reasonable amount to work with, compared to the fairly sparse and disconnected stuff after the hobbit... Though I'd still rather see the white council story woven back into the hobbit in a similar way as was done with the LOTR appendicies in the films.
  • Garrett.king
    I think, Dave, what he meant by "from the first movie" as in from Fellowship of the Rings. The first movie that was released, not the first as in "The Hobbit" It sounds pretty cool, looking forward to see how Guillermo pulls it off. But what the fuck could the second one be?..hm.
  • john
    Guillermo is probably the best guy next to Jackson to make the hobbit. I also think we will see more projects in the future that involve both Guillermo and Jackson. Kind of like the old Spielberg, Lucas collaborations in the past. What I dont get and maybe I missed something, but why doesn't Peter Jackson want to direct The Hobbit?
  • David
    I got to speak to Del Toro after Pan's Labyrinth came out, he is one of the smartest, most passionate men I have ever met when it comes to fantasy. He understands more about the genre than you believe. Trust me when I say this: he's the best choice to craft one of our favorite worlds.
  • Yeah maybe GDT can have Gandalf step up to the plate a bit more! If the man can take on a demon why couldn't he have kicked butt in the final huge battle in Return of the King? I want more fireworks damnit! :-)

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