The film world lost one of its great artists on Monday when Andrew Lesnie, the cinematographer on all six of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies passed away following a sudden heart attack. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lesnie was 59 years old.
Nicolas Cage in a Lord of the Rings film? It almost happened, if you can believe that. Cage was offered the role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson's trilogy but eventually turned it down. He would later explain, “[It] shot for a great quantity of time. I had family obligations, so I’m glad I stayed and had those experiences with my family.” This is just one of the facts packed into the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which travels to Middle-earth for The Lord of the Rings trilogy!
Today in “surely you jest” news, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise director Peter Jackson has officially revealed where he stands on film franchises, blockbusters, and superhero movies. Although he’s been behind the wheel of two wildly successful film franchises for over a decade, it turns out that Jackson isn’t really a fan of the franchise mentality. And you definitely shouldn’t count on him to direct a Marvel movie anytime soon—or ever.
There seem to be two paths for monumentally popular pieces of art and entertainment once the initial excitement around them begins to wear off. Either they become a cultural touchstone, and become a part of the fabric of everyday communication, or they become a footnote, a piece of trivia relevant only as nostalgia and an occasional answer at bar trivia. I revisit Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy every few years, because I desperately want it to be the former and not the latter.
Having gone on an unexpected journey and endured the desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson’s bloated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ finally comes to ‘The Battle of the Five Armies,’ which is less of a climax to this trilogy than a distended epilogue. After spending two movies and 330 minutes building up the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) as the ultimate antagonist, he’s eliminated from the story completely in the first ten minutes. He’s literally gone before the title appears onscreen.
Before interviewing Lee Pace—who returns to Middle-earth as the Elvenking, Thranduil, in the upcoming ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’—I conducted a completely scientific poll (it was not scientific at all, I randomly asked my friends), asking “Where do you think Lee Pace is from?” Of the seven people I asked, only one knew that Pace was born in the United States. (This particular person guessed Nebraska, the correct answer is Oklahoma and/or Texas.) What’s most remarkable about this is just how shocked people look when they find out that Pace went to high school in Houston. (Honestly, this all seems like a compliment. An “actor from England” seems to have more prestige than “an actor from Houston.”)
Over the last couple of days, rumors have been swirling that the folks at Warner Bros. have offered Christopher Nolan the director’s chair for the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel ‘Ready Player One.’ While it seems pretty unlikely that Nolan would take the job, a few more names have emerged, also reportedly on WB’s director shortlist: Robert Zemeckis, Edgar Wright (of course), Peter Jackson, and Matthew Vaughn.
Yes, it’s easy to decry the permeation of film marketing and our obsession with trailers and posters and previews, but let’s just be honest with ourselves here: The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer is going to an event that rivals the release of most movies. Think back to the good ‘ol days of 1998 (”A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”) and remember how fans would buy tickets to ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘The Siege’ just to watch the teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode I.’ If you’re one of those people and want to replicate that experience, you’d better pre-order your ticket for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ pretty soon.
The final 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' trailer has arrived and, well, it looks like another 'Hobbit' movie. If your faith in director Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-Earth remains unshaken, prepare to get excited. If the previous two films have muted your excitement for the series, prepare to see...more of the same.
Warner Bros. continues to tout 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' as the defining chapter of the middle earth saga, and the most epic installment yet. How epic? Well, it apparently culminates with a 45-minute battle sequence featuring dwarves and orcs and elves and all their various weapons and such. It's a big ol' middle earth war party, and Peter Jackson has the diagram to prove it.