We’re talking 2012 and 2013, so who knows what movie distribution will look like, but this will be a movie-going event not to be missed. 3D in the theatres, Netflix download, Apple TV download, who knows. Whatever the outlet, put it on your calendars as of this moment.
Fraught with delays in such minor details as studio green-lighting (union dispute), casting, determination of shooting locations (New Zealand is making a big push) and production personnel (Guillermo del Toro dropped out as director), looks like everything is falling in to place to begin production on the long-awaited Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) epic, The Hobbit. Why call it an epic? I did say it was Peter Jackson, right? Here are a few other reasons…
- Martin Freeman – as Bilbo Baggins, Martin, thankfully, was able to fit this in around his involvement in the production timetable of the second season of the Sherlock franchise from Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. If you’re unfamiliar with Freeman, you’ve been away for a very long time. Quick refresher – The Office, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and, the recent, Sherlock on BBC and PBS. A perfect Bilbo.
- Richard Armitage – as Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the dwarves who, along with Baggins, attempt to reclaim a treasure taken by the dragon Smaug, Armitage is a really intriguing, but perfect choice. If unfamiliar with Armitage, then you’ve more than been away for a very long time, you just haven’t existed on this planet for some time. Even a quick refresher would be take up too much space. Just think Spooks (MI5), Vicar of Dibley and Robin Hood. We can talk about the myriad of stage and screen roles later.
- Aidan Turner – somewhat new to the scene, Irish-born Turner is known most notably as Mitchell in, perhaps the best of all series that jumped on the vampire bandwagon, Being Human. Turner is cast as Kili.
The rumored cast list reads like a who’s who of British television icons. On strictly the rumor front, and not yet confirmed, are Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy as the voice of dragon Smaug and, almost forgot, Ian McKellen as Gandolf.
Been a bit since I’ve mentioned executive producer, Peter Jackson, so just a reminder that he not only will direct, but has written the screenplay, too, along with Fran Walsh, Guillermo del Toro and Philipa Boyens.
Looks like shooting will begin in February 2011 with a targeted release for part 1 of December 2011 (imagine that) with a 3D version available in IMAX theatres. Part 2 set for a possible December 2012 release. I can’t wait.