From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”
The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.
Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast of the trilogy also includes (in alphabetical order) Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott and Aidan Turner.
The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.
Under Jackson’s direction, “The Hobbit” Trilogy is being shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
Among the creative behind-the-scenes team returning to Jackson’s crew are director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, composer Howard Shore and make-up and hair designer Peter King. The film is edited by Jabez Olssen. The costumes are designed by Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor and Bob Buck.
Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of weaponry, armour and prosthetics which are once again being made by the award-winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital take on the visual effects for the films, led by the film’s visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. Post production will take place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released on December 14, 2012, with the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” slated for July 18, 2014. www.thehobbit.com