New Zealand’s national nightmare is finally over! After day-long negotiations with government leaders, Warner Bros. has agreed to keep the island nation as the filming location for Peter Jackson's upcoming production of The Hobbit. Earlier this year, when a dispute arose with local unions, the studio threatened to abandon New Zealand as a shooting location. But this latest deal, which included millions of dollars in concessions for Warner Bros., will ensure the $500 billion project stays put.
I, for one, am totally relieved now that a compromise has been reached. Since the original Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot in New Zealand, moving the prequel’s production to Eastern Europe would have been a disaster. The trees in the background would have been completely different! Does Warner Bros. think we can’t tell the difference between a Rimu in New Zealand and a Common Oak or Black Alder tree in Poland? Well they are complete fools if they do think that! Fools, I tell you! (Deadline)
New Zealand is coming across as a little too desperate about this whole Hobbit situation. Granted, I know losing the Peter Jackson film, with its $500 million budget, would be a huge economic loss, but this video/rally seems just a little over the top.
New Zealand has to understand that Warner Bros. isn't going to respect them if they act so needy. What they need to do is act like they don't give a damn where The Hobbit is shot. Maybe New Zealand can even make out with some executives from Universal in a public place where Warner Bros. can totally see what's going on! That's sure to make Warner Bros. jealous! (Deadline)
Watch New Zealand come across as desperate after the jump…
It's good to know that some forward momentum is being made on The Hobbit despite the labor disputes that are tripping up the film's location. The first round of casting has been announced and you're going to be psyched. But only if you're knowledgeable about British television. Here's who we got so far:
Martin Freeman (UK "The Office") as Bilbo Baggins
Richard Armitage ("Spooks") as Thorin Oakenshield, Dwarf leader
Aidan Turner ("Being Human") as Kili
Rob Kazinsky ("EastEnders") as Fili
Graham McTavish (Secretariat) as Dwalin
John Callen ("Power Rangers Jungle Fury") as Oin
Stephen Hunter ("All Saints") as Bombur
Mark Hadlow (King Kong) as Dori
Peter Hambleton ("The Strip") as Gloin
Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis have not been confirmed to return, but that announcement is expected. Stephen Fry, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Nighy, James Nesbitt, and David Tennant are all also rumored to be up for parts. But I think the biggest news to come out of this is that there's a show called "Power Rangers Jungle Fury" and it actually lead to someone getting more work. (Deadline)
Peter Jackson has finalized his deal to return to the Shire. The Lord Of The Rings helmer is locked and loaded and ready to direct the living crap out of The Hobbit. New Line Cinema and MGM managed to come to a deal. My bet is the cash-strapped MGM will have to do New Line's laundry for an entire year. Either that or something having to do with percentage points.
However, this wouldn't be The Hobbit if there weren't concerns over additional delays. The project has overcome bankruptcy and a fire, but is now only curtailed by a union dispute in New Zealand. If this cannot be resolved for the planned February start date, the production will have to move elsewhere. Which will cause more delays and drive up the already high budget. Which means MGM will be folding undies for a long time to come. (NY Times)
Everyone knows that Hobbits, with their hairy leather feet, hate wearing shoes. Well now we can add another item to the list of things hobbits despise: organized labor.
Various unions, including the Screen Actors Guild and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance of Australia, have officially warned their members not to take part in the production of the film due to a dispute over working conditions and residual payments. In response, producer/director Peter Jackson is claiming the move is an attempt by Austrialian interests to gain control of New Zealand's film industry and is threatening to move production to Eastern Europe if the matter is not resolved.
“There is a twisted logic to seeing NZ humiliated on the world stage, by losing the Hobbit to Eastern Europe," he said. "Warners would take a financial hit that would cause other studios to steer clear of New Zealand. Seriously, if the Hobbit goes east (Eastern Europe in fact) – look forward to a long dry big budget movie drought in this country."
Personelly, I thinks Jacksons actions be deplorable. Unions is vary important. Four example, the Tearchers Unions' are vary big in the USA, and education ain't never been better. Sham on u, Peter jackon (Empire Online)
King Kong, the world’s most iconic ape, is climbing off the silver screen and onto the Great White Way. Global Creatures, an Australian company currently producing "Walking With Dinosaurs," is working on a stage adaptation of the classic Hollywood film complete with a “20-foot-tall, animatronic incarnation” of Kong.
Unlike the ending to the classic film, the proposed robot Kong will most likely not break free of its chains and run amok in downtown New York. However, the state-of-the-art special effects may not be enough to carry the play. “Lennon,” a 2005 musical based on the life of the iconic Beatle, failed to draw an audience despite having a 15-foot-tall laser-wielding Ringo Star. (Variety)
You want Bilbo Baggins, Freeman wants a Kit-Kat.
People are talking about The Hobbit again. Yesterday, The Sun reported that New Line and MGM were doing everything short of offering up hookers to land Martin Freeman (The British "The Office") for the role of Bilbo Baggins. We obviously dismissed it because The Sun has as much clout as Highlights Magazine, but now Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the rumors are true. TRUE!
It was at first thought that Freeman declined the offer to star in the inevitable blockbuster due to his committment to the BBC series "Sherlock." Well someone must have screamed some sense in his face because the studios are now working out a deal that would allow him to appear in both projects. If they land the actor, all they'll need to worry about next is money and a director. Those kind of major factors usually fall into place last minute though. Take it from MGM, the studio without a bush to piss in or a lion's den to throw it out of.
While Peter Jackson is confident that the legal squabble between Warner Bros. and MGM over The Hobbit will be resolved "sometime soon," the Lord of the Rings prequel may not be his primary concern.
During an interview with New Zealand's Dominion Post, the acclaimed director discussed plans for his long-awaited ANZAC project, which would depict the exploits of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I. Jackson hopes to complete the project before the 100th anniversary of the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli in 2015.
"It was doomed because while the Australians charged the Nek from below, the New Zealanders, who were supposed to simultaneously attack from above, didn't show up. But that's another story, and one I'd love to make as the 100th anniversary gets closer."
While the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli is an important milestone, let's not forget that the eleventy-billionth anniversary of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is also approaching. Allowing The Hobbit to languish in legal limbo spits on the memory of all those who gave their lives fighting Sauron and his evil minions. Shame on you, Peter Jackson. (Empire Online)
With every passing day, it becomes increasingly likely that MGM's no money-induced mo' problems will doom The Hobbit to development hell. Now, at the risk of losing Gandalf the Grey, it's time for MGM to take a lush, sprawling, epic sh*t or get off the high fantasy pot. Sidenote: Led Zeppelin would not be half as successful without high fantasy pot.Sir Ian McKellan sat down with New Zealand's Good Morning show to discuss how he may be out this bitch:"Well, I’m not under contract and my time is running out and I’m enjoying working in the theater and frankly, I would like to race after doing 'Waiting For Godot,' get on with doing another play but we’ll have to see. I don’t give the producers the impression that I’m sitting waiting." Yikes. Looks like a decision needs to be made sooner than later. There's plenty of septugenarians willing to wear a robe and yell incoherent words. But Sir Ian McKellan is the one least likely to bite the 1st Assistant Director. (via Bleeding Cool)CHECK OUT SIR IAN'S INTERVIEW AFTER THE JUMP IN CASE YOU DON'T TAKE MY WORD AT FACE VALUE. IF THAT'S SO, WE NEED TO WORK ON US…
If Peter Jackson has to tell you twice, you're getting a Flair Chop.News broke on Friday that Peter Jackson would in fact slip on his "World's Best Director" apron to take over creamy buttering duties for The Hobbit hot potato. A follow-up today on AICN refutes this claim, pointing out that no one knows who the hell is greasing up this spud.Harry Knowles sat down with his contact "DEREK," who had this to say:The only quote that I’ll attribute to my source, whom I’ll call “DEREK”, when I asked if he was directing, “No, nothing has really changed – I’ve always said that me directing was one option, and so that’s not really news. The studio are working out what that deal would look like, because how else do they know if it’s a viable option? But it’s honestly one of several different options – many irons are in the fire right now. What’s of great concern to everyone right now is trying to stay on schedule and not slip back another year, because we will start losing people – and that’s increasingly difficult as each day passes. A lot of people – both film makers and studios are working very hard right now, trying to get a positive outcome here.”Who is this shrouded man of mystery? What playful game of cat and mouse is the master of deceptions drawing us into?? Call me crazy but I've got a hunch that this "DEREK" is none other than "Jeter Packson." Once we get swab test results, we'll know for sure.
"Quit smiling, you bastard. Now I have to direct this damn thing."Good news for dorks everywhere, and bad news for Brett Ratner fans. Peter Jackson is on board to direct The Hobbit, according to Deadline. Warner Bros., New Line and MGM are currently in negotiations to bring the famed LOTR director back to Middle Earth.Jackson will take over for Guillermo del Toro, who dropped from the film earlier this year. Although it may prove problematic and costly for Jackson to step away from his current projects, a compromise seems to be eminent.The prequel to the LOTR trilogy will be split into two films, and will be shot back-to-back in Jackson's native New Zealand.
Why doesn't anybody (good) want to direct The Hobbit? Peter Jackson passed. Guillermo del Toro quit. Now we have word the rumored shoe-in Neill Blomkamp won't be taking the gig either. Though in all fairness, he was never offered the job. From Vulture:An insider at his agency, William Morris Endeavor, confirms to Vulture that not only is Blomkamp not doing the movie, no one from MGM/United Artists or Warner Bros. has even contacted them about his directing the film.But they may have considered Brett Ratner. Makes total sense. If anything, MGM will always be remembered for their sound business decisions. Hopefully they won't be remembered as the studio that forced Sir Ian McKellan to wear a "Team Ratner" t-shirt.
I know how much you guys love info about movies that may never happen, so here are some photos from the set of The Hobbit. The film has no director, but people are working hard over in New Zealand to build The Shire. Once the project is completely dead they'll abandon the land, leaving prime, unpatroled real estate open for hobbit squaters. They're the worst kind of squaters.More c*ck tease pics after the jump.
It turns out that along with David Yates (Harry Potter films) and David Dobkin (Fred Claus), Brett Ratner has also been considered to direct The Hobbit. I don't want to tell a studio on the brink of bankruptcy how to run their business, but bitch is you crazy? I thought MGM needed a hit. Is this some kind of Brewster's Millions situation where they need to intentionally lose all their money in order to win a larger fortune?? Does Robocop have something to do with this???? Luckily Peter Jackson won't let that happen.He's gone on record before to say, "If [directing the films is] what I have to do to protect Warner Bros’ investment, then obviously that’s one angle which I’ll explore…The other studios may not let me out of the contracts." Thank you, Peter Jackson. You're the only one preventing us from having to endure Miley Cyrus speaking Elvish. Or worse, singing auto-tuned Elvish. (Deadline)
When Guillermo del Toro dropped out of the directors chair for The Hobbit, one replacement immediately came to mind: Peter Jackson. But Jackson seems dead set against directing the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy unless his presence is absolutely necessary.“If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore.” This assumes that it’s even possible. He explains, “The other studios may not let me out of the contracts.” Currently, once such contract has Jackson directing the third installment of the upcoming Tintin series. Will Tintin, the tale of an effeminate, Nazi sympathizing Belgian and his little white dog, prove to be as lucrative as The Hobbit, the long awaited adaptation of one of the most popular fantasy books in history? Only time will tell. (CinemaBlend)
Break open a celebratory tin of cat food! A source at Weta has told MarketSaw that a sequel to District 9 is in pre-production and will go before cameras this October. Peter Jackson will once again produce with Neill Blomkamp back in the director's chair. There's no word yet about the plot or the title of the sequel. Though my well-placed sources (who wish to remain anonymous) tell me they may involve an Electric Boogaloo.
Fantasy movie-making BFF's (big fat fatties) Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro have been been delayed further in their attempts to bring The Hobbit to cineplexes. Filming was slated to begin in June but has now been pushed back toward the end of the year. This push will probably jeopardize plans for the film's late 2012 release. TheOneRing.net cites the on-going money troubles over at the co-producing MGM as the reason for the delay and until they pull themselves out of debt, this film will not be receiving a greenlight.Personally I wish they'd hurry the hell up. I'd really like to be able to leave my house but I look ridiculous in this Gandalf costume that I was accidentally stitched into. (The Playlist)
DIRECTOR: Steven SpielbergCAST: Jamie Bell; Andy Serkis; Simon Pegg; Daniel Craig; Nick FrostSYNOPSIS: Tintin and his friends discover directions to a sunken ship commanded by Capt. Haddock's ancestor and go off on a treasure hunt.
Alan Horn, the President of WB Studios, crushed dreams the other day by announcing in a Variety article that Part 1 of The Hobbit most likely won't be released until late 2012, a full year later than expected:Once the script for the second film is in — Jackson and his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are working on it with Del Toro — New Line will work up a budget for both films and start casting. New Line exec Michael Disco, who was once Emmerich's assistant, will oversee for the studio.Horn won't predict when the first of the two "Hobbit" films will be out, but says the most probable scenario would be a release in the fourth quarter of 2012.In my mind, the most important thing to take from the above quotes is that a man named Michael DISCO is overseeing for the studio. I refuse to accept that as a surname unless you're a C-list porn star. Either this is going to be the grooooviest adaptation of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel ever, or Bilbo's going to pull of a money shot that will make Peter North blush.
"Thank you for this grand honour."Patrick Stewart no longer has to pretend to be a knight to pick up chicks. Queen Elizabeth II has bestowed knighthood upon the Star Trek / X-Men actor for his Excellence in Being British (or something like that) on her New Year honors list. Also knighted, but on a seperate New Zealand list, was LOTR and King Kong director Peter Jackson.I sincerely hope that Stewart and Jackson do not take this honor lightly. You never know when the Queen may call you to fight. If you had paid attention during Reign of Fire, you'd know that dragon attacks can happen at any time. (NBC)
I love Stanley Tucci, in a completely plutonic way. Would I gently rub his bald head? Of course, but just so I could write the headline "Screen Junkies Rubbed Stanley Tucci's Head!" not because I would gain any sexual pleasure from the act. His performance as Mr. Harvey absolutely MAKES The Lovely Bones worth seeing. I was not a fan of the film overall, as it lacked in story depth and fleshed out character arcs, but I would recommend seeing it solely based on Tucci's chilling performance as Susie Salmon's murderer and griller. He puts a little lemon juice on her, some cracked pepper, she's delicious. Because she's salmon. Get it. Yo, whateva. Check out the featurette after the jump of Tucci discussing the difficulty of emboding the role of a monster such as Mr. Harvey. Oddly enough, he didn't like to think like a child murderer/rapist, but boy oh boy does it come through those blue eye contacts of his.
Peter Jackson and his brother-from-another-mother Guillermo del Toro begin casting The Hobbit this week and they're not bowing to any big name pressure. “We’re auditioning for every role,” Jackson said in an interview. “Apart from Ian McKellen, who we obviously want to return as Gandalf, we are not really offering any roles to anybody until we’ve done a casting sweep…" That's good news if you're short or fat or talented at gazing longingly into another man's eyes. If you fit any of those criteria, you'd better get to Los Angeles or London this week. "What we’ve done over the years is discover a lot of interesting actors, like Orlando Bloom (in Rings), Kate Winslet (in Heavenly Creatures), Saoirse Ronan (in The Lovely Bones). So if you start looking and auditioning seriously, it’s amazing what incredible talent you’ll find out there.”"We want to find the right people. Casting someone to portray a hobbit is not as easy as you might imagine," Jackson added before slipping shoes onto his hairy feet and inhaling from a long-stemmed wooden pipe. (THR)
Sorry literate moviegoers. Peter Jackson recently broke the news that Steven Spielberg's Tintin has completed filming, but still needs to undergo two years of computer-animation to pull off the creepy, dead-in-the-eyes look that Robert Zemeckis has been all about lately. I guess it sucks to have to wait but the alternative was casting Conan O'Brien and where would we be then?I don't have a lot of interest in this film because I'm not familiar with the books. Though I am pretty bummed that I'll have to wait for the impending porno-spoof Tittit. (BBC)
To Whoever Shut Down The Halo Film:I had my sneaking suspicions before, but now I can safely say that you are all complete idiots. Let me make one thing clear: I have yet to actually read why you shut down the Peter Jackson-produced and Neill Blomkamp-directed adaptation of the popular video game franchise Halo. I believe I read at one point that it was something related to money. I find this funny, because it seems like if you had just made the movie, it would have made tons of money. More money than you could ever imagine…
In an interview with Marketsaw – a blog devoted entirely to 3D filmmaking – Steve Schklair, the CEO of 3ality Digital Systems claims that Lord of the Rings helmer Peter Jackson will be shooting all of his directorial efforts using 3ality's technologies. You can read the whole article at Marketsaw. Sites like ScreenRant suggest that Jackson's devotion to 3D from now on will help shift exhibitors over to the 3Dark Side, which they have been reluctant to do because of retrofitting costs and the lack of 3D movies. Personally, I'm a fan of 3D technology, from the the way UP used it organically in the story to the stuff that's used shamelessly by films like My Bloody Valentine 3D. Part of me wishes Drag Me to Hell had been in 3D. Some of the film's shock moments are perfect for the third dimension. Here's hoping that Jackson considers going into his back catalogue and 3D-ifies flicks like Meet the Feebles and Dead Alive. I can't think of a more visceral theatrical experience than an AIDs-ridden rabbit vomiting forth upon the audience in the movie theater and the audience in the film. That's, like, sooooooo metaaaaaaaaa… Meet the Feebles Vomit – Watch more Funny Videos