OSCARS: Eric Saindon On ‘Hobbit’s VFX

Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine

When the Academy’s visual-effects peer group meets tomorrow to vote on this year’s short list, among the films they’ll be examining is Warner Bros. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Industry audiences and ardent fans will be pleased to see the familiar goblins and orcs, but visual-effects supervisor Eric Saindon says much of the technology underneath the characters is virtually unrecognizable from the first Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Saindon recently spoke with AwardsLine about how much things have changed. Read More »

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Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ Production Blog #3

By | Wednesday July 20, 2011 @ 7:15pm PDT

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Peter Jackson’s Ulcer To Delay ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

In a development that pushes back the start of The Hobbit a bit, Peter Jackson was admitted today night to Wellington Hospital with acute stomach pains and underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. According to a statement from the production, … Read More »

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Ian McKellen Explains Middle Earth Muddle

Mike Fleming

Ian McKellen, who along with Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett formalized his return to Middle Earth to reprise his The Lord of the Rings character Gandalf, has taken to his own blog to explain … Read More »

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Andy Serkis Signed As Gollum In ‘Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Andy Serkis has closed his deal to bring back Gollum in The Hobbit, the two films that Peter Jackson will direct in New Zealand starting in February. Serkis will join returning cast members Cate Blanchett and … Read More »

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Warner Bros Taking WW Distribution (And Paying For) ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I’ve learned that Warner Bros will, in fact, pay the entire cost of the two installments of The Hobbit, a price-tag that is expected to exceed $500 million. Now, the question will be which cast members from … Read More »

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TOLDJA! James Nesbitt Lands ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES November 1, 2010 – British actor James Nesbitt (Millions and TV’s Cold Feet), is the latest actor to join the ensemble cast of The Hobbit, it was jointly announced today by New Line Cinema, Warner Bros, and MGM.
Nesbitt will play Bofur, a disarmingly forthright, funny and

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Official: ‘The Hobbit’ Stays In New Zealand

Producer/director Peter Jackson is celebrating. Warner Bros executives were locked in negotiations all day with New Zealand government leaders. Then Prime Minister John Key announced at a press conference tonight that The Hobbit back-to-back movies will be made in New Zealand. … Read More »

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Peter Jackson Bares ‘The Hobbit’ Dispute

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros and Peter Jackson next week will try to hash out whether the $500 million budget for back-to-back The Hobbit films will stay in New Zealand or move elsewhere. Meetings are planned that will involve Prime Minister John Key. … Read More »

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New Line Fans Ire In The Shire: No Guarantee Of New Zealand ‘Hobbit’ Shoot

Mike Fleming

New Line has weighed in on The Hobbit, adding doubt that the Warner Bros-financed pictures will shoot in New Zealand even though actors guilds have lifted their boycott. I still think that Peter Jackson is so staked in New Zealand with his sound stages and visual effects operations that … Read More »

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Actor Guilds Settle With ‘The Hobbit’ But Ire In The Shire Could Still Push Back-To-Back Peter Jackson Pics Out Of New Zealand

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: There’s still unease even though SAG and AFTRA rescinded the order to stop its actor members from working on The Hobbit because of a request from sister union New Zealand Actors Equity. The labor settlement doesn’t mean Peter Jackson will move the pictures back to the New Zealand locations that are home to Mordor, Minas Tirith, Isengard, and other Middle Earth locales. Because of all the hard feelings that the local unions created, Warner Bros has been exploring other options, and while Jackson will have a say, the studio could decide to make a move if it gets a better deal someplace else. Now New Zealand prime minister John Key is reaching out for a meeting with Warner Bros to try and keep the films from shooting in another country.

Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh were clearly furious about the aggressive tactics used by the New Zealand Actors Equity and the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. Yesterday, between 1,000 and 15,000 technicians and actors opposed to Equity’s actions picketed Equity headquarters last night, and moved that protest to Parliament. Polls conducted by local TV stations and newspapers in New Zealand showed little support for the union tactic, and high level ministers in government came out in support of Jackson. I’d say it’s unlikely that the films actually leave New Zealand. Jackson’s visual effects headquarters and stages were built there using Lord Of The Rings trilogy money. But clearly this is serious stuff. He and Walsh issued this incendiary release last night, before the unions tried to bring the agitation to a halt:

WELLINGTON – Thursday, 21 October 2010: The lifting of the blacklist on The Hobbit does nothing to help the films stay in New Zealand. The damage inflicted on our film industry by NZ Equity/MEAA is long since done.

Next week Warners are coming down to NZ to make arrangements to move the production off-shore. It appears we now cannot make films in our own country – even when substantial financing is available.

The spectacle of NZ Actors’ Equity suddenly cancelling their Wellington meeting, because film workers wanted to express to them their concern at losing The Hobbit, exemplifies the pure gutlessness of this small, self-centred group. They don’t appear to care about the repurcussions of their actions on others, nor are they prepared to take responsibility for decisions made in their name. NZ Equity constantly refer to ‘good faith’ discussions but they have never acted in good faith towards our film.

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Peter Jackson Directing ‘The Hobbit’? TOLDJA!

Mike Fleming

I saw yesterday’s breathless reports that Peter Jackson is close to a deal to direct The Hobbit – and I am bewildered how anyone slaps an “exclusive” tag on a story Deadline broke back on June 25th. That’s when Jackson … Read More »

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The Curse Of ‘The Hobbit’ Strikes Yet Again

Now add fire to the latest list of woes which have beset Peter Jackson’s pre-production on those back-to-back The Hobbit films. Flames yesterday engulfed his New Zealand workshop set which would have been used for the Tolkien movies. It took 50 firefighters three hours to … Read More »

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‘Hobbit’ Producers Warner Bros, New Line, & MGM Defend Peter Jackson Against Actor Union Allegations: “Baseless And Unfair”

SAG & AFTRA Nix Non-Union ‘The Hobbit’ For Kiwi & Oz Actors
Peter Jackson Slaps Back At Kiwi/Oz Unions

New Line,

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Peter Jackson Slaps Kiwi/Oz Unions: Threatens To Move ‘Hobbit’ To Eastern Europe

An angry Peter Jackson today is fighting back at a “Member Alert” that went out Friday afternoon from the Screen Actors Guild advising actors not to accept work on the non-union production of The Hobbit. It’s part of an international showbiz … Read More »

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SAG & AFTRA Nix Non-Union ‘The Hobbit’: Kiwi & Oz Actors Confront Peter Jackson

BREAKING NEWS: Peter Jackson Slaps Back At Kiwi/Oz/Hollywood Unions

UPDATE: A “Member Alert” went out yesterday afternoon from the Screen Actors Guild advising actors not to … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Peter Jackson Casting ‘Hobbit’

The Hollywood Reporter has done it again. So I’m embarrassed for the trade paper and any media outlet that stoops to content theft and won’t properly credit Deadline. peter_jackson_hobbit2Back on June 25th, Mike Fleming posted within his scoop about Peter … Read More »

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Can ‘The Hobbit’ Wait For MGM Decisions?

Mike Fleming

MgmlogosmallEXCLUSIVE: My recent scoop that Peter Jackson is negotiating to direct the two installments of The Hobbit is probably the best news for debt-laden MGM in years. But the development has put extra pressures on the beleaguered studio backers. Because making a 2-picture directing deal with the Lord Of The Rings director is no easy feat. I’m told that 30% of the gross is already committed to various participants, including Jackson (just for writing and producing!). peterjackson-9He and Fran Walsh don’t work cheap, and they once got $20 million against 20% of gross from Universal to direct King Kong (Jackson, who can’t get enough of Kong and just oversaw the renovation of the ape attraction on the Universal backlot). Insiders tell me that gross participants are right now being asked to make adjustments so that MGM and its partner, Warner Bros, can finance the film and make money. Creative deals are becoming routine on sequels like Men in Black, but they aren’t easy. There’s no certainty that MGM creditors will respond to the urgency that Jackson’s reps are ready to make a deal. Read More »

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URGENT! Now Peter Jackson Negotiating With Studios To Direct ‘The Hobbit’ Films

Mike Fleming

peter_jackson_king_kong_premiereUPDATED WRITE-THRU – EXCLUSIVE: In what amounts to a dream come true for fans of Middle Earth, Peter Jackson has decided to direct two installments of The Hobbit, trusted sources are telling me. His deal is being … Read More »

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