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'The Hobbit' behind-the-scenes diary: Comic-Con! Goblin-town! Yak hair! Legolas! -- VIDEO

HOBBIT-PRODUCTION

Fun fact! Over the 18 months of principal photography on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the production went through an estimated 450 miles of yak hair.

That’s but one of the many oddly illuminating details tucked inside director Peter Jackson’s latest video production diary from the New Zealand set. Though it mostly chronicles the final days of shooting, the video starts with a charming prologue at San Diego Comic-Con, capturing the whirlwind of interviews and signings for The Hobbit folk like Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis before their massive panel in Hall HREAD FULL STORY

'The Hobbit' Comic-Con panel: Peter Jackson gifts a bounty of footage upon Hall H

The Project: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

The Panel: Director Peter Jackson, along with stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis (also second unit director), surprise guest Elijah Wood, and screenwriter Philippa Boyens. Moderated by the Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick

Footage Screened: The panel began with the latest behind-the-scenes video blog dispatch — which Peter Jackson has been posting regularly on The Hobbit‘s official Facebook page — on the final five days of production. We’ll post it on EW.com when it goes live, but there was a wealth of lovely moments, including interviews with Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, and Stephen Fry, all of whom seem to figure more prominently in the second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which includes the climatic confrontation with the dragon Smaug. We also saw the final day of production on both the second unit — directed by Andy Serkis — and the main unit, including a scene between Bilbo (Freeman) and Gandalf (McKellan) with this dialogue (which was heard, but not seen):  READ FULL STORY

'Hobbit' star Richard Armitage lands major role in tornado thriller -- EXCLUSIVE

The Hobbit just wrapped shooting and the Dec. 14 opening of its first installment, An Unexpected Journey, is still months away, but one of its stars, Richard Armitage, is already enjoying a major career boost. The British actor, who plays the fierce dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy epic, has joined the cast of New Line’s untitled tornado thriller.

Armitage, who had roles in the BBC series North and South, Robin Hood, and MI-5, plays a widowed father who, with the help of storm chasers, tries to rescue his son from the aftermath of a string of tornadoes.

Director Steve Quale, a protégé of James Cameron who helmed Final Destination 5 and served as second unit director on Avatar, is directing the movie, which also will feature Walking Dead costar Sarah Wayne Callies. The film is set to begin shooting July 23 in Detroit.

Read more:

‘Hobbit': Meet the Dwarves!
‘The Hobbit': Peter Jackson offers the first look at Thorin Oakenshield
‘Hobbit': 10 New Photos!

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