EXCLUSIVE: The Lord Of The Rings star Elijah Wood has partnered with Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller to form The Woodshed, an indie company that will focus on genre fare. While I tend to associate Wood with the wholesome hobbit he reprises in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, he played a pretty awful cannibal in Sin City, and he plays a full-on serial killer in the Franck Khalfoun-directed remake Maniac, which IFC Midnight acquired after it premiered at Cannes. Not surprisingly, Wood is a horror fanatic. “I’ve been a fan of horror and genre cinema in general since I was a child and have become increasingly passionate about the idea of there being a space in which horror films that take their subject matter and characters seriously could be produced,” he said. “What was born out of a conversation of our mutual love for the genre and what we felt was lacking in a broad sense, especially from the U.S. market, became The Woodshed.”
Peter Jackson first mentioned at Comic-Con two weeks ago that he was toying with what to do with all the extra footage he has shot for a two film adaptation of The Hobbit. Now, reports are hot and heavy that he’s actually going to turn his two films into a trilogy. When I spoke with Peter Jackson about The Hobbit in San Diego, he was very excited about the 125 pages of notes in an appendices that JRR Tolkien wrote and included in the final The Lord of the Rings novel Return of the King. I’m told now that the possibility is perhaps better than it was then that this might happen, but that it is by no means a certainty. There are internal discussions, and I have to say, they make me wince. There wasn’t a wasted second in LOTR, with the films building to a satisfying, nearly $1.2 billion worldwide gross and Oscar-winning conclusion. I read The Hobbit numerous times and I don’t think that Bilbo Baggins has three films in him.
Jackson told me that the notes written by Tolkien presaged his intention to update The Hobbit and give it more of the weight of Lord Of The Rings. Here’s what he said:
“That goes back to JRR Tolkien writing The Hobbit first, for children, and only after did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when The Lord of the Rings came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious. What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time.
Comic-Con Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Return To Middle Earth With ‘The Hobbit’ And How 48 Frames Can Save Moviegoing
Peter Jackson wowed the Comic-Con crowd Saturday in Hall H by showing footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a two-parter on the Bilbo Baggins’ journey that leaves on his finger Sauron’s Ring Of Power, the precursor to Jackson’s billion dollar grossing The Lord of the Rings trilogy for New Line Cinema. Jackson’s appearance created as many questions as it answered. Bloggers are reporting he said that The Hobbit might become a trilogy and they’ve also wondered why Jackson chose not to show the 3D in the 48 frames-per-second format in which he shot both Hobbit films. On the trilogy possibility, I’m told that while Jackson shot plenty of extra footage, he has already stretched a single book into two movies. His DVD editions of The Lord of the Rings were so compellingly loaded with extended cuts of each film—they actually filled in storytelling gaps for hard core fans–that my bet is he indulges those fans that way again, even though no final decision has yet been made. I don’t think anybody but the money guys behind Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 thought it was creatively satisfying to break Stephenie Meyer’s last book into two films and I would be surprised if Jackson went that route unless the movies are just too long to fit in a double feature.
DEADLINE: Guillermo Del Toro told me he didn’t feel badly about stepping away from directing The Hobbit because the film ended up in the right hands, your hands. Everybody felt that way but you it seemed. Why did it take you so long to embrace a return to Middle Earth as director?
JACKSON: It did seem that way, but you’re talking about a series of events that were largely out of everybody’s control at the time. I have a certain belief in fate. Not in a religious way but over my life I find that if you try to assert yourself and influence things too much, it’s not necessarily the best idea. You kind of take your foot off the clutch at some stage and freewheel and let things happen. Guillermo was developing The Hobbit, I was producing it and I had other things that I was developing of my own at that time. And for the 18 months he was on it, we never had a green light.
Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
For the Warner Bros/Legendary panel Comic-Con‘s big screen expanded to Cinerama proportions to impress fans with Pacific Rim and Godzilla teases while Man of Steel moved at least one fan to tears. For good measure, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey footage mixed familiar and new. Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, dressed as David Tennant’s Doctor Who, moderated what was probably the most anticipated panel of the convention. He came in with a Sonic Screwdriver remote control, and suddenly two extra giant side screens were revealed as the black curtains peeled back. (Sort of like the Terminator 3D screen at Universal Studios.) This feels like what Cinerama was always supposed to be.
Legendary’s Thomas Tull came onstage, saying that his having a mic up there was a sign of the apocalypse, then briefly showed off how all the screens worked together for a Pacific Rim tease (metallic panels, serial numbers, vague sketches of pods – a mere taste for what was coming). Then Guillermo del Toro came out to say, in his inimitable, profane-comic fashion, “I’m shitting in my pants right now.” As he spoke and was pictured on the center screen, production designs and on-set footage flanked him on the side screens. He said it was important to have a sense of romantic adventure — not a war movie. And that it was important to have a sense of awe in a movie with giant robots and monsters. Del Toro said this will be the only thing shown until Christmas, and that this footage was just for us at Comic-con. Admonished “you motherfuckers with the James Bond cameras in the glasses, take them off.”
There was a huge reaction for Charlie Day coming out, and Ron Perlman (only in cavernous Hall H). Charlie Hunnam and Rink Kikuchi followed. Cheers for them too, but not quite as extra loud. How does Perlman feel about coming to Comic-Con? “It’s a miracle I’m still invited.” He says Guillermo’s standards are clearly plummeting since he keeps inviting Perlman back.
Comic-Con Q&A: Guillermo Del Toro On ‘Pacific Rim,’ Japanese Movie Monsters, Lessons Learned From ‘The Hobbit’ & ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’
There is no chance the Comic-Con crowd will have forgotten him, but Guillermo Del Toro’s last directorial effort was a Hellboy sequel released in 2008. In the four years since, he collaborated on the scripts for two installments of …
Time is running out for theaters that haven’t made the switch to digital projection. Studios’ use of conventional 35 mm prints “is projected to cease in the United States and other major markets by the end of next year, with global cutoff likely to happen by the end of 2015,” according to the latest IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service report. There’s still a ways to go: The firm says that 51.5% of worldwide screens had digital projectors at the end of 2011, an increase of 82% from 2010. But IHS notes that soon it won’t be sufficient to have a digital projector. Director Peter Jackson is lobbying for theater owners pay for the software upgrade needed to show his upcoming The Hobbit films at 48 frames a second. That’s the speed at which he’s shooting the movies, up from the conventional 24 frames. At the end of 2011 about 50,000 of the world’s 63,825 digital screens, including 19,000 in the U.S., would be capable of being upgraded. Theaters with Series 2 DLP and Sony projectors will be able to accommodate Jackson. Pressure to upgrade won’t abate after The Hobbit. James Cameron plans to shoot his follow-ups to Avatar at 60 frames a second. (Incidently, IHS’ figure on the worldwide total of digital venues is slightly higher than the 2011 tally from the MPAA, which counted 62,684, of which 44% were in the U.S. and Canada.)
Warner Bros played to a full house this morning for its 2012 product presentation at the enormous Caesars Palace Colisseum theatre on the second day of CinemaCon. One reason was certainly pre-publicity about 10 minutes of footage of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit being debuted in the revolutionary new format of 48 frames per second. The exhibs had to wait until the end of Warner Bros topper Jeff Robinov’s entire presentation to see how this potential game-changer looks. But before they did, Jackson gave them a history lesson on the subject in taped introductory remarks (also shot in 3D but at 24 frames per sec) from New Zealand. That’s where he is working on the first of the two new films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opens December 14 (the second follows a year later). Jackson explained as the process got more talked-about in the industry he became intrigued by it and was hopeful Hobbit could be the first mainstream major studio feature to be projected at 48 frames (24 frames has been the norm for the last 80 years). Now having done it, he feels there is no reason at all to stick with 24. “It gives you much more of an illusion of real life; in 3D it also offers much less eye-strain,” he said, adding that with digital technology taking over the exhibition industry now, it’s “simple”, and he asked for the exhibitors’ support. With that, he intro’d 10 minutes of Hobbit footage but warned the crowd that it might take their eyes a little time to get used to. He also noted that the footage was far from finished but that this taste will give them the idea.
UPDATE: Coding has been fixed. Here’s something many people have been waiting for so here you are. Doesn’t really need an introduction but this packs a lot into 2½ minutes.
Here’s the latest of the occasional behind-the-scenes videos that Peter Jackson makes for fans while he has been in New Zealand shooting The Hobbit. In this installment, he discusses the switch from the 2D The Lord of the Rings to a 3D shoot for both installments of The Hobbit. Jackson …