It doesn’t look like Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, and company will have an easy end to their journey.
Tag: The Lord of the Rings (1-10 of 11)
Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t just lend his voice to the role of Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The actor put his full body into the villainous dragon, lending his talents to the motion-capture process in as wonderfully ridiculous form as would be expected.
First seen in the hallowed halls of Comic-Con, the first teaser trailer for Peter Jackson’s final movie set in Middle Earth, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, has hit the wider world. Get ready for some nostalgia.
Still Bakshi after all these years: Iconoclastic 'Fritz the Cat' director has another tale to tell -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO
“Hey people, Ralphie needs money to draw. Let’s give him some so he can make a fool of himself again.” — Ralph Bakshi’s Miss America, in the Kickstarter campaign video for his new animated project
Making films has never been easy for Ralph Bakshi. The maverick cartoonist and filmmaker, who became famous — and infamous — after 1972’s smash X-rated ‘toon, Fritz the Cat, never liked to color within the lines, so to speak. He was the anti-Disney back then, filling his stories with provocative themes, raunchy humor, and curvacious broads that would make Russ Meyer blush. His bold 1975 blaxploitation satire Coonskin was driven from some theaters by critics who deemed its racial elements offensive, but filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino adored the film, and Bakshi’s artistic style and spirit lived on in the work of admirers who went on to make cartoons like The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy, and Rango.
Now 74 years old, Bakshi has been in exile for more than a decade, focusing on his painting at his New Mexico home after one-too-many frustrating and disappointing Hollywood experiences. He hasn’t made a feature film since 1992’s Cool World, and he seemed to call it quits for good after his short-lived HBO series Spicy City went belly-up in 1997. But he still has a story to tell — a great one, he says, that will “push the boundaries of 2-D animation.” READ FULL STORY
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a tale of two risky quests. The first quest is the one on the screen, which sends Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and 12 compact compatriots off toward Lonely Mountain. The second is the filmmaking odyssey for the cast and crew led by director Peter Jackson, who won fame and glory in Middle-earth with the Lord of the Rings trilogy but found a different combination of challenges in adapting this earlier Tolkien epic.
A key figure in Jackson’s odyssey is senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri, the director of Weta Digital and a four-time Oscar winner (Avatar, King Kong, and the second and third Lord of the Rings films) who may add a fifth thanks to his latest Middle-earth nomination (which he shares with Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White). EW caught up with Letteri to talk about the changing face of digital effects and its unexpected journey toward the spiritual center of acting craft. Also, check out a new sizzle reel of The Hobbit, a film that racked up $956 million in worldwide box office, which among Tolkien adaptations bows only to Return of the King, the 2003 finale of the first trilogy that took in $1.1 billion and won the Oscar for Best Picture.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The first Lord of the Rings film opened a little more than 11 years ago but it’s amazing how far digital effects have leaped in that span. For you, when you look back at your path, what do you see that’s unexpected?
JOE LETTERI: The nature of it, the true nature of the work. We’re just in the early days of understanding what facial expression means of how people relate to each other. I know people focus on the technology, like the motion capture, but really when you look at a lot of this and you try to tease out what the meaning is, you figure out that it comes down to trying to understand expression and the way people relate to each other. That’s drama, that’s the heart of what actors do. We work with actors to distill that and to bring it to these new characters. With Hobbit we had a chance to do it with six characters with speaking lines — there was over 20 minutes of dialogue for these characters. READ FULL STORY
Director Peter Jackson (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and his WETA Digital team suffered the loss of two esteemed colleagues last month: VFX producer Eileen Moran, 60, who died of cancer on Dec. 2, and sound editor Mike Hopkins, 53, who was killed in a rafting accident on Dec. 30. In honor of their contributions to films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, Jackson emailed EW these memories of his departed friends. READ FULL STORY
The vast collection of J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts initially sold senior Joe Kirchoff on Marquette University, so when the school offered its first course devoted exclusively to the English author, Kirchoff wanted in. The only problem: It was full and he wasn’t on the literature track.
Undaunted, the 22-year-old political science and history major lobbied the English department and others starting last spring and through the summer and “kind of just made myself a problem,” he said. His persistence paid off.
“It’s a fantastic course,” said Kirchoff, a Chicago native. “It’s a great way to look at something that’s such a creative work of genius in such a way you really come to understand the man behind it.”
He and the 31 other students can now boast of their authority about the author who influenced much of today’s high fantasy writing. The course was taught for the first time this fall as part of the university’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit being published. And class wrapped up just before the film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released Friday. READ FULL STORY
Forget orcs. The most fearsome creatures in the Tolkien universe may be lawyers.
The estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien, the man who brought forth all things Middle Earth with the magic tucked inside his pen, has filed suit against Warner Bros., New Line, and the Saul Zaentz Company for copyright infringement and breach of contract, alleging that the studio had gone far beyond the “limited” merchandising rights it holds for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. When the estate sold the film rights to those Tolkien books in 1969, the suit alleges, it only allowed for “the manufacture, sale and distribution of … any and all articles of tangible personal property,” but the suit claims the defendants have “with increasing boldness, engaged in a continuing and escalating pattern of usurping rights to which they are not entitled.” READ FULL STORY
Tolkien fanatics, ready your browsers! Advance tickets for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — which opens Dec. 14 — will be available for purchase on Wednesday, Nov. 7 starting at 12 p.m. ET.
But if snagging the earliest seats for the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel just isn’t enough Middle Earth for you, you’re in luck. READ FULL STORY
We at EW are not the only ones working ourselves into a frenzy over the arrival of this week’s San Diego Comic-Con. Peter Jackson took to The Hobbit’s official Facebook page this weekend to unveil a new poster for the highly anticipated film. Even better? Fans attending the Con can score one starting Thursday. See it below.
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