Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit Starts Shooting in 2010
As part of a promotion for the new Hellboy II Blu-Ray, Guillermo del Toro participated in an online chat with fans last weekend. As always, del Toro usually provides some minor updates on The Hobbit during chats like this, and he revealed a few details actually worth mentioning. Thanks to BilboHobbit.com for providing the transcript of the chat. Most importantly, del Toro says that filming will begin in 2010 and that The Hobbit (to eventually be split into two films) will shoot for 370 days. Considering a typical film shoot is usually only a few months, that's a shocking number, but certainly necessary for this adaptation.
Gullermo also said that he's hoping to work with the following past collaborators: Hellboy comic book author Mike Mignola during the "design stage for a week or two", concept artist Wayne Barlowe, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro of all of del Toro's previous films, and special effects house Spectral Motion. None of this is official, but he's hopeful they will all join. Most of these people have worked with Guillermo before on everything from Pan's Labyrinth to Hellboy II, which will make them a perfect addition to The Hobbit team on top of everyone from the Lord of the Rings films.
As for the special effects and creatures, del Toro mentioned that they're really focusing on the Goblin Kingdom, the dragon Smaug, and the Spiders of Mirkwood in regards to creature design. "We will be pushing them to the edge of technology where we will fuse animatronics and CGI into a seamless new art form in creating creatures." While Hellboy II had a lot of recognizable puppets, del Toro says that The Hobbit will feature more of a seamless mix. "You will see some mind-boggling mixture of CGI / puppetry like never before. The demarcation of where one technique ends and the other begins will NOT be as clean as in HBII or Blade II or Pan's Labyrinth. I am going to push further than ever on both fronts."
It's always a huge relief to hear from Guillermo del Toro, because every time he talks about The Hobbit, I gain even more confidence in him. To be honest, I was worried after Hellboy II that he might not be able to still pull it off, but it sounds like Peter Jackson is making sure they're doing it exactly right. "The challenge is to create and expand a massive universe and be as immersive as the [Lord of the Rings] trilogy was. To approach Tolkien's book with the right mixture of reverence, enthusiasm and invention."