We’ve got six more hours of Hobbit movies coming next winter, and now they have titles. Starring Martin Freeman (below right) in the lead role, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14th, 2012, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again is set for a year later. Because God forbid you call them The Hobbit Part 1 and 2.
Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” The adventure of “The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. [press release via ComingSoon]
I can’t imagine devoting a full decade of my career to 70-year-old books about dwarves and dragons and elves who sing songs, but luckily Peter Jackson isn’t even close to being bored of it, because he grew up in New Zealand. Those people are like X-Men when it comes to imperviousness to boredom. I heard The Olive Garden recently scrapped plans to expand to New Zealand after the locals deemed it “too zesty.” Meanwhile, the hardest part for the rest of the cast will be the three months they have to spend in Delaware after shooting to get reacclimated.