Archive of posts tagged Ian McKellen

Stars, and fans, attend The Hobbit world premiere

Cate Blanchett at The Hobbit world premiere

Actress Cate Blanchett arrives for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey World Premiere

Last night in Wellington, New Zealand thousands of fans, elves, wizards, dwarves, hobbits, and other denizens of Middle-earth gathered outside the Embassy Theater to watch the arrival of The Hobbit‘s many stars for the film’s world premiere.

Some of those that were spotted were Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Barry Humphries (Goblin king), William Kircher (Bifur), Aidan Turner (Fili), Dean O’Gorman (Kili), and of course, director Sir Peter Jackson. Actor Ian McKellen, who plays wizard Gandalf, was unfortunately absent but according the The Huffington Post sent a message along saying, “I wish I were there in my spiritual home in Wellington.”

Some late arrivals to the red carpet included actors John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli in the Lord of the Rings films, and Evangeline Lily who plays Tauriel a warrior elf-maid of Mirkwood, a role created for The Hobbit films by director Jackson.

Fan website (TORn) which broadcasted live from the event has some nice pictures from the red carpet of the stars’ arrivals. And for those that missed their live broadcast, or those that just want to re-watch it,  a stream is provided via their website.

The White Council in The Hobbit

White Council attacks Dol Guldur

The White Council attacks Dol Guldur by Angus McBride

In a previous post titled “Elrond in the Battle of the Five Armies?” I posed the question of whether we would see Elrond in the Battle of the Five Armies, or even possibly in a flashback showing him leading the elves in support of the Dúnedain in the north against the Witch-king of Angmar. This was based on a new image leaked from the 2013 Hobbit calendar that shows Elrond dressed in battle gear.

While perusing a message board online, I came across a comment one user made a while back that said they had read in a magazine that Elrond would accompany Gandalf when the wizard goes to Dol Guldur in search of the evil influence there that we know as the Necromancer. Unfortunately they didn’t mention what magazine it was that they had read this in. This led me to do some more searching on the Internet to see if I could come up with any more information regarding this, and to see if this could be why the new calendar has an image of Elrond wearing armor. If you don’t want to know anything that could be considered spoilers, you had best stop reading here.

My search first led me to none other than director Peter Jackson’s official Facebook page. In May of 2011, Jackson answered some questions that fans had posed to him in regards to The Hobbit. One such question was whether we would see the White Council attacking Dol Guldur. Jackson’s reply to this wasn’t a definitive ‘yes’ but it is promising.

“I’m not going to say just what and when, but I will confirm that both the White Council and Dol Guldur will feature in the movies. And not just in one scene either. Just how to visualise it has been a challenge, but fortunately Alan Lee and John Howe went crazy with ideas, and it should look pretty cool.”

Now I need to point out that after making the above comment Jackson followed it up with an exclusive look at what he says is “the White Council planning the attack on Dol Guldur!” The photo in question is none other than himself, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, and Cate Blanchett hamming it up with a bunch of children’s toys!

Does this mean we won’t get to see the White Council attacking Dol Guldur? Certainly not, it just means Peter Jackson isn’t ready to tell us definitively yet, and probably wants to keep it a surprise for the movie(s). We have seen footage of Gandalf walking around Dol Guldur in the trailers, but this is probably when he goes there on a scouting mission for the White Council to determine just what the evil influence is.

The White Council was comprised mainly of the wizards Saruman and Gandalf (and possibly Radagast), and the leaders of the elves Elrond and Galadriel, as well as other wise elves such as Círdan and Glorfindel. As part of the back story to events taking place in The Hobbit, the White Council attacks the Necromancer, whom they now know to be the dark lord Sauron returned, at Dol Guldur, driving him out and back to Mordor.

As to what that message board user had read pertaining to Elrond and Gandalf at Dol Guldur, I did eventually find that the August 2011 edition of Empire Magazine, which sadly I was not able to get,  is where they probably read it.

“The week following Empire’s visit, the director will shoot Gandalf and Elrond scouting the murky dungeons of forest fastness Dol Guldur.” – ‘The Hobbit’ article featured in Empire Magazine August 2011 issue.

Knowing this, it is a good bet that the image of Elrond in the 2013 Hobbit calendar is in fact showing him when he and Gandalf are scouting Dol Guldur. Of course, there is still the possibility he could be at the Battle of the Five Armies. In Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit, anything is possible.

Third ‘Hobbit’ film could become a reality

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey posterThe Los Angeles Times recently posted that Warner Bros. unit, New Line Cinemas, and director Peter Jackson are looking into the possibility of a third installment for The Hobbit.

Jackson mentioned briefly during the recent Comic-Con in San Diego earlier this month that they had enough material to comprise a third movie. The material in question is in the form of notes made by the author Tolkien which can be found as the Appendices of the book The Return of the King.

“There are 125 pages of notes published at the back of ‘Return of the King’ in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially [Tolkien’s] expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them,” said Jackson, in an interview with Deadline. “We haven’t just adapted ‘The Hobbit’; we’ve adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together. The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We’ve explained it using Tolkien’s own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ era and incorporate it with ‘The Hobbit.'”

Regardless of having enough material for a third film, there is still the matter of whether new deals can be made with numerous right-holders and the actors. At present, talks have been underway with Martin Freeman and Sir Ian McKellen, two of the chief actors in the upcoming The Hobbit films.

One thing that worries fans about a third installment of The Hobbit is how will it affect the first two films? Will plot lines be changed, and would the climatic battle at the end of The Hobbit be held back for the third film?

The Lord of the Rings worked as a trilogy of films because it already existed as a trilogy of books. But The Hobbit is only one book. As the LA Times has noted, breaking a single book up into more than one movie seems to be the ‘in thing’ in Hollywood lately. However, “there is no known precedent for turning one book into three films.”

Will The Hobbit work as three films? Is there really that much more material in the appendices of The Return of the King to contribute to, not take away from, the story? Like Mike Fleming from Deadline said, “As a fan of LOTR, I’m concerned.”

The Hobbit Pub still needs help – plans fundraiser

The Hobbit Pub in Southampton

The Hobbit Pub in Southampton

Back in March I reported on a Southampton pub called The Hobbit which had come under fire from the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) over use of the word ‘Hobbit’ in their name. SZC in California owns the worldwide rights to brands associated with JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and has been cracking down on what they call ‘infringement rights.’

The Internet erupted with this news and even veteran actors Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry got into the fray offering their support  for the pub, with McKellen posting on his blog ‘…I haven’t yet talked to Stephen Fry about his disapproval of this Hollywood bullying but I’m with him all the way. All the way to The Hobbit pub once filming is over in July.’

After this huge outcry, SZC offered an olive branch of sorts in the form of a $100 [£65] a year licensing fee to allow the pub to continue using the word ‘Hobbit.’

Everything seemed like it was going to work out for the good, but as reported by The Daily Echo, almost four months later that amicable offer from SZC has not been put into writing and presented to the pub’s lawyers. Meanwhile the legal fees have been piling up.

“They said they’d give us this licence, but what does it entail and why is it taking so long?” said landlady Stella Roberts.  “There are three lots of solicitors involved – solicitors for Punch Taverns, solicitors for Saul Zaentz and my own solicitor.  If you think that solicitors cost £100 an hour, 20 hours is already £2,000 and obviously a lot more than that has gone in already.  The economic situation is not helping pubs and if you then get a £15,000 or £20,000 legal bill you’re finished.”

In an effort to help offset these costs, the pub is planning on having a fundraiser.  The event called simply ‘Save the Hobbit’ will feature live music from local bands, Tolkien memorabilia, and various items to be auctioned off – which Stephen Fry has already donated a signed book towards. Author Neil Gaiman is even expected to make an appearance via an Internet video link.

The ‘Save the Hobbit’ fundraiser will take place at the pub on  Saturday, August 11. Ticket are just £10. For more information you can email the pub at or call them at 023 8023 2591.

Related links:

Possible Resolution in Sight for Hobbit Pub Clash

Sir Ian McKellen backs The Hobbit Pub

Save ‘The Hobbit’…Pub, that is

Save The Hobbit, Southampton Facebook page


Peter Jackson brings Comic-Con to fans in latest Hobbit production video No.8

Monday, July 23, director Peter Jackson uploaded The Hobbit production video #8 to his Facebook page.

This latest video shows fans a bit of what went on behind the scenes at Comic-Con in San Diego and also shows a look at what fans in Hall H at Comic-Con got to see.

We are taken back to the final days of filming principal photography for The Hobbit. Jackson gives us glimpses of different sets that we’ll see in the upcoming films, as well as more cast interviews and behind the scene shenanigans with Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo and his dwarf companions.

For the first time we get to hear from actor Lee Pace who will be playing elven King Thranduil. He tells a little about what it was like to play an elf. During his interview, we also briefly get to see some Mirkwood elves in action during a fight scene.

Another first is seeing actor Sylvester McCoy as wizard Radagast the Brown. We get to see his abode of Rhosgobel (meaning “Brown Fenced Homestead”), and hear McCoy practicing some bird calls.

Rhosgobel, the wizard Radagast the Brown’s house.

Other places we get to see for the first time are the town Dale, which has a Mediterranean style to it, Goblintown, Beorn’s House, and possibly a shot of parts of Thranduil’s Halls.

The town of Dale

Beorn’s House

Possibly the wine cellar in King Thranduil’s Halls?

Actors Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett, first seen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy films can be seen once again filming some of their last scenes as Gandalf, Legolas and Galadriel. Still no glimpses of Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug, nor Evangeline Lily as elf Tauriel (though she may be the auburn haired elf in the fight scene shown during Lee Pace’s interview).

This is the last video following the principal photography for The Hobbit, but Jackson promises more entries that will give fans a behind the scenes look at Post Production on the films.

Peter Jackson wows fans with over 12 minutes of ‘The Hobbit’ footage at SDCC

By Noelene Clark,
Los Angeles Times:

Peter Jackson unveiled more than 12 minutes of footage from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” during his Comic-Con panel Saturday, giving fans a glimpse of Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo Baggins, a new female character not from the J.R.R. Tolkien universe and some scenes with familiar characters Gandalf, Gollum and Galadriel.

Jackson, who directed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy before taking on Tolkien’s smaller adventure, was joined on the panel by cowriter Philippa Boyens, Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (second unit director and, of course, Gollum), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) and surprise guest Elijah Wood, who played Frodo Baggins in the trilogy and did “a bit of work” for “The Hobbit.”

The panel was the capstone of the Hall H lineup this year. Thousands of fans — more than a few in Middle-earth garb — began lining up Friday and camped overnight. (McKellen paid them a late-night surprise visit.)

The roughly 6,500 fans who made it into Hall H were also treated to breathtaking footage from the film, beginning with a scene in which Gandalf recruits a doubtful Bilbo to join a company of even-more-doubtful dwarves in their quest to stop the greedy and terrible dragon Smaug.

In another scene, Bilbo bargains with Smeagol in the cave, risking his life in a game of riddles: “If Baggins loses,” he croaks, “we eats it whole.” We also see Bilbo finding the One Ring and then later concealing it from Gandalf.

The footage also included a light-soaked scene between Gandalf and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), in which the elven queen asks the gray wizard why he picked Bilbo for this quest.

“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check,” Gandalf says. “That is not what I’ve found. I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid, and he gives me courage.”

Jackson also screened a featurette documenting the final five days of filming, and fans erupted in cheers as they recognized locations from Tolkien’s book, including the Shire, Lake-town and Rivendell. The featurette showed Freeman scrambling through a mountain of Smaug’s stolen treasure, Orlando Bloom (Legolas) leaping in front of a green screen, Stephen Fry donning his Master of Lake-town costume and Luke Evans performing his own stunts as Bard the Bowman.

The featurette also introduced a Tauriel, an elven woman portrayed by Evangeline Lilly, after the filmmakers began to “feel the weight” of the male-dominated story, Boyens said.

“She brings a very powerful feminine energy into the film,” Boyens said. “We believe that it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien. … I think you guys are going to fall in love with her.”

Freeman said he “never felt intimidated” by the prospect of playing Bilbo Baggins.

“You can’t really take intimidation or pressure to work with you, because you won’t do your best work or do your best playing, which is really an actor’s job,” he said.

He said he strove for a “lightness of touch,” wit and vulnerability so that the audience could relate to Bilbo and his adventure.

“I’m a big believer of knowing what play you’re in, and in this play, I have to be the eyes and ears of the audience, because I’m the nearest thing to a member of the audience in this film,” Freeman said. “We all have fear. We all have reservations. We all have places that we’re scared to go, whether they’re internal or external.”