MGM planning "The Hobbit" … in Two Movies?

Peter T. Chattaway points to a Variety article that brings some clarity to the rumors I mentioned last week. Looks like MGM is hoping Peter Jackson’s up for The Hobbit after all… maybe even a two-film version of it.

I would have mixed feelings about seieng Jackson as the director.

He would need to take a hint from the critics of King Kong and try to restrain himself from going over the top at every possible opportunity.

The Hobbit is a much smaller story, and needs to be treated that way.

If it’s going to work, it’ll be made with a lighter touch, and the filmmakers will resist the temptation to make it as dark as The Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings was a fantasy for grownups. The Hobbit is an amusing childrens’ story.

They’ll need to stick to the text, without bloating small episodes into big action set pieces.

If Holm’s going to play the Bilbo of The Hobbit… and that’s been my dream since he played Polonius in Mel Gibson’s Hamlet… they’ll have to do some marvelous effects work to make him seem younger. Anybody have a good candidate for a young Ian Holm, a middle-aged Bilbo? Hitchhiker’s Martin Freeman, perhaps?

I think McKellen’s still in great condition to play Gandalf the Gray.

Hugo Weaving’s still around to play Elrond, but oh how I wish they’d gone with David Bowie for the trilogy instead. Maybe Bowie could step in to play the king of the wood-elves.

Who would play Beorn? Who would make a good Thorin? How about Bard the guardsman?

I’m confident that Serkis would be a highlight as Gollum again, but could they restrain themselves from writing Gollum a larger role?

And where would they split the story into two? That would be tricky. I’d break it right when Bilbo pokes his head up through the tree cover of Mirkwood and sees the butterflies. “He suddenly wondered if he would ever see his snug hobbit hole again. He wondered if he actually wanted to.” It would have to be a spectacularly beautiful shot. And then, the camera descends back into the shadows below, and we see the spiders lurking in the shadows… Perfect.

And they absolutely must not sacrifice important episodes in order to make room for a sprawling 25-minute battle scene at the end of part two. The battle of five armies is a great battle, but it’s not an eventful battle that requires a long, sprawling effects extravaganza. (So please, dear Lord, keep it away from Andrew Adamson.)

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  • Banshee

    Two movies… ewwwwwww. Obviously, somebody needs to exercise not just restraint, but _reading comprehension skills_. Sheesh. Rankin-Bass is looking better and better all the time.

    OTOH, I suppose the second movie could be the prequel, which explains that Bilbo’s mom traveled among the savage Southerners as Belladonna-dono the ninja, and explains the _real_ circumstances of Frodo’s parents’ death. It turns out that Belladonna actually faked her death to pursue a vendetta against the evil Southern ninja clan stepping out of her past to kill her family. She returns home only to aid King Elessar without killing anyone, as the mysterious Rurouni Baggins.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  • Geoffrey S. DeWeese

    I hope that 1) Jackson does the movie(s) and 2) that he does exhibit some restraint. I like the idea of only seeing a part of the battle, especially if it is from the sidelines (no overhead shots). But Jackson did such a service in his work on the LOTRs and I fear that another director would ruin it. Keeping Jackson would keep the continuity of vision as well.

    As to actors – I have no idea at the moment! It will be fun to think about, especially Bard and the voice of Smaug. I wonder (and wouldn’t be suprised) if they would put in a cameo of Legolas in the background in the mirkwood elves. No big lines, but show him nonetheless. That would be fun.

    God I hope they do this and that they do it right. But then, I hoped for that with LOTRs and pretty much got my wish!

  • sg

    One ring.
    One flick.
    Too good.


  • Reel Fanatic

    This is indeed a story that needs a lighter touch, but I’m confident Jackson would be able to adapt to that … I just hope that, even if it clocks in at more than three hours, they don’t break it into two flicks .. that would be a disaster!

  • Brian Friesen

    You can imagine what they will do with a character like Beorn. I hope they exercise a healthy dose of the restraint that Jackson has talked about a few years back with regard to creating Gollum to be more real than cartoon-like.

    So much of “The Hobbit” happens out of the corner of your eye. Tolkien rarely looks directly at things, especially at the most dramatic moments of the story. The final battle happens while Bilbo is unconscious. Beorn the bear exists on the horizon, but you can imagine the CGI morphing they will be tempted to display – a bear screaming into the camera. Spectacle rather than subtle suggestion.

    And the spectacle could be really wonderful, but I wish the 2-film deal would be just that: 2 film versions of the same story: one over-the-top version, and one quieter, more mysterious, lower-budget film.

    Can you imagine a Peter Jackson version of The Hobbit that builds toward an epic final battle but then cuts away from it just as the eagles arrive and Bilbo falls unconscious? Perhaps by then, audiences will be so burned out by epic battle sequences, it will be a gracious gift not to display one. Or to purposefully display one in a way that echoes “The Red Badge of Courage,” or the central battle sequence of “Barry Lyndon”: from the edge of the battle field. Showcasing one particular vantage point of *part* of a battle might be more effective than displaying every possible vantage point of a battle from start to finish.

  • crimsonline

    Is there any other choice for Beorn besides Brian Blessed?

    The man rocks.