The ‘Tubes are jammed this week with contrary facts and rumors about the now-greenlit two-part adaptation of The Hobbit. Here is a quick summary of what we know and what we think we know:
The two parts are slated to premiere in December 2012 and December 2013. Principal photography will begin in February 2011.
The films will be shot in 3D.
The expected budget for the two films together is US$ 500 million. The estimated budget of the entire LOTR trilogy was US$ 285 million.
Jackson has threatened to take the production away from New Zealand if a deal cannot be reached with actors’ unions there. Warner Bros is still working on a deal to keep The Hobbit in New Zealand, where LOTR was shot. As of today, the New Zealand Actors’ Equity and the Screen Production & Development Association announced they will not boycott The Hobbit. But Jackson has yet to announce a decision.
As much as $US 100 million of the films’ budget may be due to legal fees.
Ian Holm, who played the titular Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, in LOTR, will not reprise the role due to health concerns. He may narrate the films.
The front runner for the role of Bilbo is Martin Freeman (The Office (UK), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
Other actors being seriously considered for roles are David Tennant (Blackpool, Doctor Who), Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who), Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Beauty & the Beast), James Nesbitt, Bill Bailey (Black Books) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds).
Scottish actors such as Tennant are being considered for the 13 main Dwarf roles. The Dwarf character of Gimli in LOTR established that race as having Scottish accents and a Celt-inspired culture.
The expanded plot may involve a battle between The Necromancer, revealed to be Sauron, and the members of the White Council. This would provide role reprisals for Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Marton Csokas (Celeborn), and Christopher Lee (Saruman). Lee has stated he would gladly reprise his role, but will not leave England for health reasons. McCoy’s role may be as Radagast the Brown, a member of the Council.
Jackson stated at one point he was interested in portraying young Aragorn in the film. Other LOTR characters who could logically appear as cameos in The Hobbit are Gimli, Legolas and Arwen.
Watch this space for more details as they appear!Andy Serkis, David Tennant, Fran Walsh, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, labor issues, Martin Freeman, New Zealand Actors’ Equity, Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, Screen Production & Development Association, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit (film)