Monday, July 07, 2008

Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and The Hobbit

Premiere has a great interview with Guillermo del Toro up now, and most of it deals with Hellboy II and GdT's general thoughts and ideas about movie making. But of course there is a bit about The Hobbit in there too:

The buzz around del Toro this summer will be nothing compared what's coming his way when he begins work on The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. After years of chatter about The Hobbit's big screen future, producer Peter Jackson and New Line officially announced in April that del Toro would direct two films based the Tolkien classic. The second film will lead directly into The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

"The first film will stand on its own, and the second will be a transition and fusion with Peter's world," he says (while, no doubt, a breathless Middle Earth fan contingency listens). "I plan to change and expand the visuals from Peter's, and I know the world can be portrayed in a different way. Different is better for the first one. For the second, I have the responsibility of finding a slow progression and mimicking the style of Peter."

It's a daunting project, to say the least, and del Toro, who read the book at age 11, isn't taking it lightly. He's moving his family to New Zealand and will start working on the screenplay over the next few months.

"I tried to read the trilogy when I was younger and failed miserably, and started reading it again this year," says del Toro. "The Hobbit came out of a very personal side of Tolkien, and I keep thinking of his experiences going through World War I. He went into it as a proper Englishman and saw a side of the world that was horrifying to him, and he came back in a different way."

The Internet is humming with rumors that Wanted star James McAvoy will take on the lead role as Bilbo Baggins, but del Toro says that's not the case — at least not yet. No new roles have been filled, though del Toro does declare, "I love [McAvoy's] work... He has a great sensibility."

"Discussions about casting are general at this point," he says. "It's impossible to cast a movie before you write the screenplay. After you write it, you can see who might work for certain roles and who wouldn't."

As for directing it, del Toro is going in with Hellboy-size guns ablaze.

"When the call came and asked if I would pledge half a decade of my life to do The Hobbit, I said fucking yes."

Sounds like a man ready to make an impression. Again.

And so the McAvoy rumours get fed just a little bit more! Today I also watched a bunch of clips from Hellboy II and the trailer for the movie, featuring Ron Perlman front and center. The more I see of him, the more I think he would fit perfectly as Thorin. And I also hope they choose a less prosthetic-heavy version of the dwarves for The Hobbit: I loved Gimli in LOTR, but I never really understood the need for all that makeup on John Rhys Davies since he'd have looked fine as a dwarf to me with just a beard. The trailers and clips are available here. There is a heaviness and dignity to RP, even when he's dressed up as Hellboy, that I think would translate well for Thorin. And the voice is just the best.

Photos thanks to

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