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Dispatches from 'The Hobbit': How much meat does a Hobbit eat? -- VIDEO

That’s just one of the insider tidbits revealed in the latest production video released by Peter Jackson from the set of The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The 12-minute spot, filmed last fall across New Zealand, is a geek’s fantasy come true of mystical creatures aplenty and stunning landscape porn. There’s also inside scoop from Bilbo Baggins himself (Martin Freeman), Andy “Gollum” Serkis (who pulled double duty as the film’s second unit assistant director), and a deliciously pink-shirted Sir Ian McKellen, to name a few. If that’s not tantalizing enough, you can even see a dwarf take his first-ever helicopter ride! Click through for the full video. READ FULL STORY

Peter Jackson going straight from directing 'The Hobbit' to 'Tintin 2'

Look alive, Tintin lovers! You won’t have too long(ish) of a wait for the The Adventures of Tintin 2. Peter Jackson’s Tintin co-producer Steven Spielberg tells Total Film that Jackson will not take a break between the two Hobbit films — which are being produced simultaneously — and the as-yet-untitled sequel. “We made a deal,” said Spielberg. “I said, ‘I’ll direct the first one, you direct the second one.’ Peter, of course, is going to do it right after he finishes photography on The Hobbit. He’ll go right into the…performance capture.”  READ FULL STORY

'The Hobbit' lands Billy Connolly as dwarf warrior Dain Ironfoot

If there’s an actor alive better suited to play a great Middle Earth dwarf warrior than Billy Connolly, I’d certainly like to meet him. The voluble Scottish comedian and actor has been cast in both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again as Dain Ironfoot, cousin to Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the dwarf who leads Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and a band of dwarfs on a quest to win back a treasure from the dragon Smaug. READ FULL STORY

New 'Hobbit' photo: Dwarves!

This is a big year for little people. You’ve got The Hobbit. You’ve got two separate versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, one of them created for people who like Lord of the Rings and the other one created for people who like the phrase “Snow Way.” You’ve got Life’s Too Short, a show about VIP little person Warwick Davis, which will almost certainly lead to a big Netflix bump for Willow. (Not to mention the impending return of Game of Thrones, featuring Tyrion “Bad Motherf—er” Lannister.) Anyhow, a new image from The Hobbit seems to indicate that the dwarves of Middle Earth would beat all the others in a fight, if the fight was just about who can grow the biggest beard. Game on, McShane.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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‘The Hobbit’ production diary: Gandalf and Frodo hug. I cry.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ trailer: Gandalf! Goosebumps!

Evangeline Lilly talks 'Real Steel' (now on Blu-ray) and playing a warrior elf in 'The Hobbit'

A quick glance at Evangeline Lilly’s IMDb page reveals a filmography that’s surprisingly short on quantity. But look at what is there: a groundbreaking and beloved TV series (Lost), a Best Picture winner (The Hurt Locker), and, oh, a tiny two-movie project known as The Hobbit.

Last year, Lilly starred in the robot-boxing family film Real Steel, which earned nearly $300 million worldwide and received an Oscar nomination yesterday for its motion-capture visual effects. She played Bailey, the former girlfriend of Charlie (Hugh Jackman) who now owns the boxing gym he frequently visits.

EW recently checked in with Lilly to chat about Real Steel, which debuted on Blu-ray and DVD this week. Click through to read the interview, in which Lilly discusses why she signed up for the role, what it was like working aside animatronic machines, and her upcoming role as a kickass warrior elf in The Hobbit. READ FULL STORY

Sundance: Peter Jackson, Damien Echols on 'West of Memphis,' and visiting 'The Hobbit' set -- VIDEO

One of the most high-profile debuts at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival has to be director Amy Berg and producer Peter Jackson’s documentary West of Memphis. Largely a chronicle of the effort, bankrolled by Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh, to exonerate the West Memphis Three — a.k.a. Jessie Misskelley Jr., Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols – the doc is already winning critical praise and media attention for the new witnesses Berg only just interviewed on camera last week.

I talked with Jackson and Berg about that dramatic development when they stopped by EW’s Sundance studio with two of the film’s central subjects (and producers): Damien Echols and Lorri Davis. Echols was released from death row just last year after 18 years in prison, in large part thanks to the steadfast dedication of Davis, who met and married Echols after he was in prison. It was easy to see in our interview that the glamour of Sundance has been a bit of a shock for them, but I loved hearing about their two-month trip to New Zealand to visit Jackson and Walsh on the set of The Hobbit. Check out our interview below:  READ FULL STORY

'The Hobbit' production diary: Gandalf and Frodo hug. I cry.

One of the best things about owning all three Lord of the Rings extended director’s cut DVDs is the extras. When the DVDs were first released, I remember sitting in front of my television for hours, devouring the behind-the-scenes footage like it was a piece of lembas. (And it was just as satisfying, too!) So what a treat to be able to be able to go behind the scenes of The Hobbit before the film even hits the big screen.

In The Hobbit‘s latest video diary, director Peter Jackson takes us on location with the cast and crew, giving us a sneak peek at one of the film’s biggest stars: New Zealand. Fans of the films were in awe of the country’s scenery in the first three films, and, based on the video, we can prepare to be wowed again. That is, when we’re not feeling nostalgic — the video gives us a look into a familiar territory, Hobbiton. If you got goosebumps watching Bag End’s door open, you’re not alone. Both Jackson and Elijah Wood — reprising his role as Frodo — were more than happy to return. “It’s weird when you come back to a place you literally thought you’d never see again,” said Jackson, so entranced by the set that he even expressed a desire to move into a hobbit hole. Wood, however, appeared to be the most nostalgic, remembering how he first stepped foot in the fictional Middle-Earth village when he was 19 years old (“I’m 30 now,” he said.): “I’ll never forget that feeling of coming to Hobbiton for the first time,” Wood said in the video. You’re not alone, Frodo!

Watch the video — the best Christmas present Lord of the Rings fans could hope for — after the jump! READ FULL STORY

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' trailer: Gandalf! Galadriel! Goosebumps!

For a brief, glorious stretch of years in the not too distant past, the holiday moviegoing season was synonymous with the harrowing tales of J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits, elves, dwarves, wizards, and men. And now, for the first time in eight years, we finally get to go back to Middle Earth — sure, it’s only for two-and-a-half minutes in the new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but we’ll gladly take it. The first of two films, which chronicles the life of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman…and Ian Holm) before the war-ravaged events of The Lord of the Rings, hits theaters Dec. 14, 2012. Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

'The Hobbit': Peter Jackson releases tech-focused video blog that's still plenty precious

hobbit

You might have to be a film nerd to truly appreciate Peter Jackson’s latest, 3-D-centric video blog from the set of The Hobbit, but there’s still plenty to devour for Lord of the Rings nerds. Though most of the video focuses on EPIC’s RED cameras and 3-D concept drawings, it’s still, in my opinion, one video to rule them all. Why? Because we get peeks at some familiar faces: Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, Elijah Wood’s Frodo Baggins, and Hugo Weaving’s Elrond. With those sights, and Howard Shore’s “Concerning Hobbits” in the background, I feel like I’ve died and gone to the Undying Lands.

Some of the interesting tidbits unveiled by the video blog: Jackson has named cameras after members of his family (and The Beatles), the film’s concept art is drawn in 3-D, and The Hobbit‘s costume designers are actively avoiding polka-dotted material so moviegoers don’t feel as though stones are being thrown at their faces. Also: We see a glimpse of a pine forest, which looks even more majestic than Treebeard’s home. Jackson also mentions that he took 3-D photos on the set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy — before 3-D technology was advanced enough to take advantage of — which is at once awesome and depressing. I would have loved to feel as though I was inside Rivendell. Watch Jackson’s latest video blog on his Facebook page. December 2012 can’t come soon enough.

Read more:
Peter Jackson announces ‘The Hobbit’ will have its world premiere in — where else? — New Zealand
Peter Jackson’s third ‘Hobbit’ production video: Gollum’s cave, dwarves galore, and Galadriel!
‘Hobbit’ First Look: 3 Pics!

Peter Jackson announces 'The Hobbit' will have its world premiere in -- where else? -- New Zealand

During a press conference with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key (at Hobbiton, no less!), Peter Jackson announced that the world premiere for the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, will be held late next year in Wellington. Jackson said during the press conference, which you can watch here, “I think Warner Bros., in particular, were blown away by the Return of the King premiere. No one in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that moment. I think everyone involved was, quite honestly, keen to let New Zealand have the premiere of the first Hobbit movie based on the absolute reception that we had with the last Lord of the Rings film.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open stateside in theaters on Dec. 14, 2012.

Read more:
Peter Jackson’s third ‘Hobbit’ production video: Gollum’s cave, dwarves galore, and Galadriel!
‘Hobbit’ First Look: 3 Pics!
‘The Hobbit’: Cast Photo Album!

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