As we all know, geek icon Peter Jackson is currently shooting The Hobbit, which will be divided in two parts, with the first episode being released this December.
You definitely get a sense of déjà vu watching this production diary entry, because Jackson of course shot the Lord of the Rings films in his native New Zealand, with the locations creating an impressive panorama of Tolkien’s fantasy Middle Earth.
The latest production diary has some great helicopter footage, and you get the impression that the landscape and scope of The Hobbit should be breathtaking on the big screen just like its LOTR predecessor. Andy Serkis is also seen a bit, Ian McKellen does a brief little chat, and you can see footage of him in full Gandalf costume, walking around with Jackson filming him.
This diary also depicts a map of New Zealand, which shows where each segment is filmed in the country. As one crew member says in the diary, “For the most part, it’s easier working inside a studio, but the studio don’t have the incredible vistas, and that’s what we’re here for.”
This diary entry covers the location shooting, then it’s back to the studio, where Jackson says it’s the last hundred days of shooting. The Lord of the Rings films were clearly a big, epic undertaking, but you’d be hard pressed to see Jackson sweat.
As Michael Pellerin, who directed Jackson’s diaries for the first three Lord of the Rings series and King Kong says, “Peter multi-tasks like nobody I’ve ever seen. Some directors can do it, some can’t. Some need to just focus on one thing, but Peter will be directing the movie and then when a shot’s done, he can turn his attention to some other aspect and he’ll completely give you his focus. When he’s talking to you he’s just talking to you, you have all his attention. Then he’ll switch to someone else and then he’ll switch to someone else. He usually has several pots on the stove at once at a full boil, always.”
Pellerin adds, “The truth is he has continued to make movies the way he always has, which is he’s a guy who handcrafts every aspect of his movies. He used to make films literally all by himself, shooting, editing, doing the visual effects, building the models, everything. And he still approaches his films that way. Lord of the Rings and Kong have allowed him more tools and he’s obviously more facilities and more people working here, but he essentially makes his films the same. He’s just got more stuff to do it with. He’s all about making movies. I don’t think he’s very affected or really cares a whole lot about the acclaim. I think he just likes making movies and that’s his sole objective. If the success of these movies and popularity allow him the ability to maintain his autonomy, he very much does his own thing down here, and continues making movies, I think that’s his motivating factor really.”