Peter Jackson Live Blogs About Very Last Day of Filming 'The Hobbit'
"1.08 am. A 20 hour day … 15 years of Tolkien … 771 days of shooting …" Yesterday, or rather today (Friday, July 26th, 2013) was the very last day of shooting in Hobbit/Lord of the Rings history. It sounds like, as Jackson is saying, that he's finally closed the book and this marks the end of an era for him. To celebrate the day, Peter Jackson live blogged various moments of his day on his Facebook page, including lots of photos and fun updates. Yes, that's him and his cat Mr Smudge in the teaser above - the very last shot he posted after a long day of work. Looking back it's better to recap after and watch what went down on his final day.
The original idea for his live blog was explained in his original post: "Our last day of shooting. Ever since starting these blogs, there's been something I thought I'd like to try one day (as well as answering the other 19 questions I owe you!) - blogging throughout a shoot day in real time. Try to give you all a feeling for what we deal with on an average day. Today is not exactly 'average', given it's our last day of shooting, but if I don't do it today, I never will! So here goes … I'll try to update as much as I can during the day. At least with a quick photo. Text will depend a little on how busy it gets." From there the adventure begins at 6:30AM in Wellington, NZ and he continues on. If you're a Tolkien / Hobbit / LOTR/ Jackson nerd, this is great stuff.
Most of what they are shooting is for "Film 3", or There and Back Again due out in 2014, so he adds, "I'm going to try and make this honest, but spoiler free." He adds some great quips throughout, like this: "Our shoot day starts at 8.30am, and is supposed to finish at 7.30pm. I suspect we'll be working late. Whenever we work a long day, I joke with the crew that I'm just softening them up for when Jim Cameron shows up in Wellington to shoot Avatar 2 and 3. Well … It's not really a joke." Here are a few of my favorite updates:
The guy on the right is actually second unit "action" director Christian Rivers (since Andy Serkis isn't able to keep working at this point), even though he looks like Peter Jackson. In this photo Peter explains: "Had to race to A Stage to try and explain to Graham and Christian why they were shooting their Dwalin fight against green screen, and not our beautiful expensive set as planned. Graham started sharpening his axe, so I just told them to read my last Facebook posting and I fled." Which is where this next shot comes into play:
Jackson says they had troubles and ran into a delay shooting. Jokingly he says "I do have to get a Facebook filter quickly written, so Warner Bros doesn't read that we didn't get yesterday finished!" Ha. Anyway, what are these penguin folk? They're doing lighting captures for the greenscreen. He explains: "Two cameras, both with 16 mm lenses. Two huge wide shots of a fight happening on an enormous set that filling most of K Stage. This is going to be hard, posting pics without spoilers. I'll do my best! We have video diary cameras here, so you will eventually see what we're doing today in detail - but not until the Film 3 extended cut, which I guess will be towards the end of 2015!" He ends: "The photo: yes, we did actually just film this."
Aww, adorable right? "Big Richard, Medium Richard and Little Richard." Jackson explains: "I asked the various Thorins to pose just before they headed off to lunch. One of these is Richard Armitage, and two of them are not. It's your guess … The one in the middle is a little psycho. I am looking forward to making movies with everyone the same height in the future." Fun photo, cool behind-the-scenes tease.
"Music spotting with Howard Shore." He explains the process of spotting with composer Howard Shore, who is in New York. Together they figure out "where music should start and stop, what mood it should have, themes to use, moments to punctuate. That type of thing. To stay on schedule, Howard needs 10 mins of cut footage every week. This week we only have 3 & a half mins for him. Fortunately, he's very good natured about it. It's happened once or twice before!" He continues about the score: "this time around, apart from a couple of Ring moments, it's all new: Beorn, Mirkwood, The Woodland Realm, Laketown, Bard and Smaug all give Howard the chance to write brand new themes, and he's knocking it out of the park!"
First of two great selfies from the live blog! This one has Peter with Graham McTavish, playing Dwalin, who "just competed his last shot with honours." Adding that "Main Unit and Splinter are running neck and neck. Each with 4 shots left. It's going to be another 3 hours or so. Which ever unit finishes first gets to drink all the beer." Sounds good. This is quite a close-up - zoom out! Unless he's got an axe in his head?
The next great selfie with Peter Jackson! This time he's with Kili and Fili, played by Aidan Turner and Dean O'Gorman. Jackson: "One Hot Director with Two Not Quite So Hot Dwarves. Aidan and Dean nail their first shot today. They've been waiting patiently since lunchtime. 3 more to go for Splinter. 8.15pm."
Almost done! So close! "Just shot this close up of Richard. Look for it in Dec 2014! 2 more shots to go. Main Unit shooting Thorin, Splinter Unit shooting Fili and Kili. 9.21pm. Getting very near the end …" Love it, looking epic, glad to see Thorin getting more action by the end. He's one of my favorite characters so far.
Finally: "The last shot." This is it. Who is that guy in the green mask? We'll find out in 2014. The last moments: "Big monitors, main unit. Small screens bottom right, splinter. We're neck and neck … Shooting our final shots at the same time. 4 or 5 takes so far… No, wait … Done! While I was typing this, we shot more takes and finished! Richard was fantastic… Minutes away. Smiles and happiness… And sadness. Yikes, very sad." Cool to see it happen as he's typing the blog. That's it, they're done. Shooting is wrapped on The Hobbit once and for all, even though we have a few years to wait until it's completed and released. But still. I love being able to watch this moment as it's happening, in the real world here and now. This is filmmaking.
Of course, I have to end with the shot of Peter and his cat (who makes an earlier appearance, too). "1.14am. Back with Mr Smudge. A long day. A great day. Thank you all for being part of it! Now for some sleep!"
For the full live blog and all of the photos from Jackson visit his page at facebook.com/PeterJacksonNZ
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit… J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, being directed by Peter Jackson as three separate movies, is set in Middle-Earth 60 years before Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in a trilogy ten years ago. The films, with screenplays by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, were shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest cameras. The Hobbit follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug lands in theaters in 3D & 48FPS on December 13th.