Since 1937 it is a book that has captured the imaginations of millions and introduced literary characters such as Bilbo Baggins, Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf. It spawned a broader, darker tome named The Lord of the Rings and in the early 21st Century it represented the basis for a set of films that were and are the epitomy of seamless storytelling and cinema and a benchmark in special effects technology making an audience forget that Middle Earth doesn’t exist. It revolutionised the tourist trade of an entire nation off the coast of Australia and and made JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson household names.
I am very pleased to announce that initial filming on The Hobbit: There and Back Again has begun and that the cast and crew have already begun to express their genuine happiness at the beginning of what has been, at times, a project that may never have seen the light of day. Following disputes over royalties, threatened film studios, being potentially helmed by two genius directors, a union dispute, a major operation and an Earthquake finally, Bilbo Baggin’s journey has begun again for an entirely new generation. Collected below are the first photos to be sent from the set, including an old cast member, a new cast member and everyone’s favourite Director.
A very different Peter Jackson walks in to Bagend (Bilbo’s home in Hobbiton – still intact from the first film) after a long road back to the Director’s chair.
Peter Jackson at the seat he sat at so many years before at the beginning of the production of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (below).
…. and finally, the star Ian McKellan (Gandalf the Grey) posted the photo below (with James Nesbitt) from rehearsals with the caption ‘Bofur and Gandalf at our first Rehearsal.’
Beyond the Bunker will try to keep pace with the production as it goes on and bring you any major highlights over the next year and a half of filming before the release of the first installment some time in 2012 (hopefully Christmas).
Jackson’s assistant, Matt Dravitszki, told New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times that production will last through 2012.
“We will be filming in our studios in Miramar, [Stone Street Studios at] Wellington, and in locations throughout New Zealand,” he said.
McKellen provided more specifics, writing that he found himself “in various places which are all the same place.”
“I was on flat land the Maori called Whataitai until renamed in 1872, Miramar, or ‘Behold the Sea,’ which is indeed nearby,” he wrote on his blog. “I was in Stone Street Studios in the heart of a modern suburb, with some light industry.
The first installment of “The Hobbit” is expected in December 2012, and the second will be released in 2013. According to online sources New Line Cinema has reportedly registered the following two titles:
The Hobbit: There and Back Again and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
… and so a very much intended and yet slightly unexpected journey begins. We’ll keep you posted as it goes.