How The Hobbit came to the big screen

24th October, 2012

The first installment of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy has the subtitle "An Unexpected Journey", but nothing was more unexpected than the journey the film itself has taken to get on the big screen.

After the massive success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, which gained an army of fans, not to mention a glut of awards, a more contemporary adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel seemed inevitable, the only other film version being an animation from 1977. So why did the film nearly never happen?

Guillermo Del Toro

In 2008 the Mexican director signed on to direct the movie, with Peter Jackson taking more of a back seat this time. Del Toro's previous works moved between high profile action films such as Hellboy and Blade, to lower budget, more intimate foreign language affairs such as The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. Many thought Del Toro to be an inspired choice, one who could bring his own vision to the project whilst still staying loyal to the tone of Peter Jackson's original trilogy.

However, the project was hampered by severe delays. The script was constantly changing and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios were in the midst of financial troubles, which prevented the film getting the official green light. As a result, Del Toro pulled out of the project, leaving the future of The Hobbit hanging in the balance...

The Hobbit in Europe?

One of the most striking features of the Lord Of The Rings films was the scenery, filmed entirely in Jackson's native New Zealand. However, this was also threatened in The Hobbit owing to an industrial dispute, which led to talk of filming moving to Eastern Europe. Protest rallies sprung up all over the country imploring the production not move, with everyone fearful that New Zealand would lose a huge amount of tourism. Thankfully the matter was resolved and filming did indeed begin in New Zealand, meaning we'll get to see those stunning vistas and mountaintops again.

And now...

So, after all that, principal photography on the film began at the start of 2011, with Peter Jackson back in the director's chair ready to helm another trilogy. A cast of actors including British favourites Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch jumped on board, with old favourites Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis reprising their roles as Gandalf and Gollum respectively.

We've seen trailers, featurettes and enough beautiful concept art to make us certain that the film will be worth the wait.

 

 

You'll be able to return to Middle-Earth on December 14, when The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey is released nationwide.

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