Are 13 dwarves too many? Is one book not enough?
Are 13 dwarves too many? Is one book not enough? These were questions raised at the press conference for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An UnexpectedJourney. It's the first of three two-and-a-half-hour films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, which Jackson had also adapted into three epic-length movies.
"It kind of surprised us a bit, too," said Jackson at the press conference for the film. "At the beginning, there were only two films. But the book was written at a very breathless pace. Really major events are covered in just a few pages. Plus, in The Return of the King there are a hundred pages of material that Tolkien meant to include in The Hobbit. All this gave us a lot to work with."
So it wasn't just a way to squeeze out another franchise?
"It's not a franchise!" stormed Ian McKellen in his most intimidating Gandalf voice. "These are films! This isn't X-Men. Anyone who thinks that Peter Jackson operates in response to market forces doesn't know him very well. Ask any nine-year-old. They haven't just seen Lord of the Rings once. They've seen it three times. In one day!"
Besides, he added, the films let him explore Gandalf's romantic side.
"There's a scene in which Galadriel [Cate Blanchett] adjusted my hair," he says. "I'm still a little shaky."
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