The Hobbit Gets a Trilogy

Peter Jackson believes there’s enough story to warrant a Hobbit trilogy and New Line, Warner Bros., and MGM couldn’t be happier.  Looks like Jackson’s Tintin will have to wait. Or can he still squeeze in the performance capture shoot?

“We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: Do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes,’” said Jackson, who recently wrapped principle photography on the first two Hobbit films (set in Middle Earth 60 years prior to The Lord of the Rings trilogy).

“We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life.  We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be and — lastly, and most importantly — we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of the trilogy, will be released Dec. 14, with the second film coming Dec. 13, 2013, and the finale slated for summer 2014. All three films will be released in 3-D and 2-D in select theaters and IMAX. They are also being shot at 48 fps to alleviate motion artifacts when projected in 3-D. This technique has stirred some controversy among those who find the “video” look unsettling, but Jackson insists that it will enhance the overall experience and will add a new dimension to the Middle Earth setting.

In fact, high frame rate will be a centerpiece of next week’s SIGGRAPH 2012 at the LA Convention Center. “High Frame Rate Cinema, Impacts on Art and Technology” will feature pioneer Douglas Trumbull, Dennis Muren of ILM, and Jon Landau of Lightstorm in a panel discussion moderated by Christie, Aug. 8,  10:45 am, Hall K.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.  Returning cast members from Lord of the Rings also include Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  The international ensemble cast also includes John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Books, Cinematography, Clips, Education, Events, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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