A Long Goodbye, But the Legacy Continues. . .
Behind the Scenes of THE HOBBIT’s Concluding Chapter
By Peter Wooding, Contributing Writer
The cast of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES flanked either side of the movie’s director, Sir Peter Jackson, at the world press conference in London recently for possibly the last time this group of people would ever work together.
You could feel both a buzz of excitement in the room and a tinge of sadness that this was the end of a journey, as this talented ensemble entered a packed room at the prestigious Claridge’s Hotel in London.
MOVIEGUIDE® asked Peter Jackson first of all how he hoped the film would inspire young people. Expecting something very profound about the heroic aspects of the characters overcoming all odds to conquer evil, we didn’t quite get the answer we expected.
“I hope I inspire children to make films,” Jackson replied. “That’s what my hope is. I suppose the film can inspire children in other ways. I’m sitting here today being the result of films I saw as a kid. They excited me and inspired me to become obsessive about making films. It would be a wonderful thing if there were young kids today who were getting affected by our films in the same way.”
Martin Freeman’s first answer brought a roar of laughter to the whole room when he jokingly said, “I hope to inspire children to be obsessed over jewelry.”
However, he added:
“Any effect you can have on an audience is a plus. It’s ultimately why we’re doing it. You want to touch people. You want to communicate something in some way.”
In response to another journalist’s question about whether he felt pride in portraying the little man who makes a big impact on the world, Freeman said, “I’m very proud of the films and my participation role in them. I think the message is strong and aspirational. Most heroes in the world are not six foot five and look like Vikings. Most everyday heroes do not look like that. Hollywood doesn’t always tell us that truth. That’s why it’s surprising that we think Bilbo could be a hero. Most people we’ve ever met who we consider brave or heroic or inspirational don’t look like Dolph Lungren.”
The previous evening enthusiastic crowds had packed Leicester Square for the film’s World Premiere. Some of the more obsessive fans dressed as many of the characters, including Gandalf himself.
Sir Ian MacKellen, who plays Gandalf, noted how many of the young fans who’d camped out all night for the premiere wouldn’t have even been born when they first started filming Lord of the Rings back in 1999.
“I was impressed last night by the age of the kids who slept out all night to come and wish us well,” he said. “Some of them weren’t born in the last century. So, our work is part of their lives. So what are we doing it for, other than to have an effect that could be so crucial to them. They’re now going to show these films to their own kids.
“To have been involved in films that are now classics is overwhelming. It’s not the end. It’s the beginning now because then we’ll want to see the six films together and that will be a whole new experience.”
When asked if this is the end for Middle Earth, Peter Jackson explained that in the New Year he’ll be working on the extended cut of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVD.
However, he added, “There is nothing beyond that. The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien. THE HOBBIT and the LORD OF THE RINGS film rights were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late 60s. So, without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can’t be any more films.”
Without giving the plot away, a very moving song called The Last Goodbye plays during the closing credits, making this a fitting end to the Hobbit trilogy.
The song is sung and co-written by Billy Boyd, who played the part of Pippin in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
At the press conference, Peter Jackson explained, “This song was like a handover from the closing of THE HOBBIT to the beginning of LORD OF THE RINGS, and Pippin jumps in there at the beginning of his story.”
Jackson added, “The cast at the table here. They’re responsible for allowing you to connect with their characters. They were very skillful to now allow the fact that you’re a wizard, or you’re a hobbit or an elf or a dwarf to overwhelm the performance. Everyone here found the truth in the characters that they were playing so you could connect with them.
When asked what he would miss most from making these movies, he replied, “The thing I’ll miss the most is all the fun on the set. You can’t work 266 days on set and not make it want to be fun. Fortunately, this is a fantastic cast, and they’re all very funny people, and I’m certainly going to miss that.”
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