December 18, 2007

I've Got A Baaaaaad Feeling About This

"'In the land of Jackson where the shadows lie.' What does that mean, I wonder?"

After a much-publicized spat, Peter Jackson has made nice with New Line Cinema and is going to do The Hobbit after all:

NEW YORK - Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a planned prequel to the blockbuster trilogy "The Lord of the Rings." Jackson, who directed the "Rings" trilogy, will serve as executive producer for "The Hobbit." A director for the prequel films has yet to be named.

Relations between Jackson and New Line had soured after "Rings," despite a collective worldwide box office gross of nearly $3 billion an enormous success. The two sides nevertheless were able to reconcile, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) splitting "The Hobbit" 50/50, spokemen for both studios said Tuesday.

"I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line," Jackson said in a statement. "We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."

One immediate problem for any film version of The Hobbit expecting to make it in the box office? There are no female characters in the book. I shudder to think what Jackson & Co. might do in order to overcome this.

And whatever happens, they seem set to milk it for all it's worth, producing not one but two movies:

Two "Hobbit" films are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, similar to how the three "Lord of the Rings" films were made. Production is set to begin in 2009 with a released planned for 2010, with the sequel scheduled for a 2011 release.

How is this going to work, exactly? Will the book be divided up, with one movie title "There" and the other "And Back Again"? Are we going to get another CGI-fest of teh White Council driving the Necromancer out of Dol Guldor? Or is Jackson planning to go all George Lucas on us and churn out a pre-prequel about the younger days of Anikan Smeagol?

Regular readers will know already how much I frothed at the liberties Jackson took with LOTR. Even without the benefit of Galadriel's mirror, I'm foreseeing that it's going to be even worse this time around.

Resident "Tolkien Geek" Yips! from Gary:
I saw this coming. It's been slowly winding its way toward an official reconciliation between Jackson and New Line (especially when the litigation began moving in Jackson's favor).

The two movie thing is annoying. For the life of me I can't imagine where the natural "break" is.

But I think you hit it when you mentioned a White Council scene. I'm sure there will be stuff like that added to the story. In fact, go back to "Unfinished Tales" and flip through "The Quest for Erebor" and you'll find lots of stuff that can be used in flashback (adding to the begining would be a disaster, IMO).

When Hollywood does "prequel" they tend to go a little overboard.

Jackson will be unavailable to direct but he'll no doubt be the wordsmith behind the script (with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, of course). I don't have as many complaints with their translation from book to script as they are as mindful of the fans as you could as for.

As for females, expect to see Arwen at Rivendell and Galadriel as well. Perhaps a prominent woman's role among the residents of Laketown? And of course, old Lobelia may well show up at the end when Bilbo comes home to an auction of Bag End.

If Sir Ian McKellan returns as Gandalf, I'm on board. My biggest concern, however, is Bilbo. I would think Ian Holm is too old to portray a younger Bilbo (though with make-up I suppose it's possible). So who do you cast? That's a tough one.

Yips! back from Robbo: Well, how 'bout Ewan McGregor? If he can riff Alec Guiness, I'm sure he can riff Ian Holm. And I know at least one person who would his casting would guaran-damn-tee to plump for the tix, the DVDs, the posters, the undies........

Posted by Robert at December 18, 2007 12:50 PM | TrackBack

Libertas is reporting that Sam Raimi is going to direct. Not so sure I think that's a good idea, but I'm all that familiar with his work. I'm guessing they will break the story at Bilbo's escape from the orcs in the Misty Mountains.

As far as female characters, they can make the three trolls females - I would suggest using the names Hillary, Barbara and Nancy, but that's just me...

Posted by: The gripping hand at December 18, 2007 01:04 PM

And then there will be a final sequel: The Scouring of the Shire.

Don't know if there's enough action for a movie version of The Silmarillion.

Posted by: rbj at December 18, 2007 02:48 PM

I'm betting they turn one of the dwarves into a female.

Posted by: John at December 18, 2007 03:03 PM

No female characters? What about the indomitiable Lobelia Sackville-Baggins? Canonically known to swing a mean umbrella (she actually did stand up to the Men who took over the Shire under Sharkey, unlike the invented-for-the-films version of Arwen rescuing Frodo), she's a genuine Hobbit action heroine!

Posted by: Fuinseoig at December 18, 2007 03:32 PM