It’s certainly been a rough road, but Peter Jackson has just about made it to production day. Unfortunately, Jackson himself couldn’t attend due to necessary bed rest after his recent surgery, but during a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, all 13 dwarves – James Nesbitt, Rob Kazinsky, Aidan Turner, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Adam Brown, Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy – and one hobbit, Bilbo Baggins himself, Martin Freeman, were on hand to talk about the film.
The gang started by talking up their shooting location, New Zealand, noting the importance of maintaining that parallel with The Lord of the Rings films. From there, the attending press honed in on Freeman and his familiarity with Ian Holm’s original performance. “There’s a certain level, of course, at which I have to match what he’s doing and then forget it as well,” Freeman explained. “Without being, one way or the other, bigheaded or falsely modest, I think I’m quite a good match for him.”
Sure enough, the film’s pre-production conundrum was mentioned and Freeman was able to have a little fun with it. “We’re all very optimistic about it. We’re all ready to go just as soon as 2015 rolls around,” he joked. On a more serious note, Kircher pointed out the bright side of the situation, “It gives us a lot of time to keep developing and developing our characters.”
Later on, the cast got a laugh from one reporter asking the group if they’re ready for the “heartthrob status” this film could create. After the sarcasm abated, Kazinsky chimed in to say, “We’re probably not going to look like Adonises.” He added, “I don’t think we should probably get ahead of ourselves and we should wait and see that the critical success of this film is more successful.”
One interesting anecdote that even his co-cast was unaware of came from Armitage, who’s playing Thorin, the leader of the dwarves on this particular mission. “My first experience on stage was in a production of The Hobbit at the Alex Theater in Birmingham and I played an Elf. Gollum was a little papier-mâché puppet with a man offstage on a microphone,” he recalled. “So it’s kind of been in my childhood very prominently so to come to it as an adult, as a middle-aged man, and have another look at it is a brilliant opportunity.”
Near the tail end of the press conference, Freeman offered his opinion of the man in charge, Jackson, explaining, “he’s as normal as is humanly possible for someone who’s richer than Croesus.” On a more serious note he added, “He is phenomenally, genuinely normal. And it’s not an act.” Freeman noted he doesn’t know Jackson too well yet, but based on their few meetings, he’s noticed, “He seems to be a practitioner as opposed to a star,” and, “he’s still the same recognizable being probably when he was 12. He’s still an enthusiast. He still just wanted to lose himself in the game.”
Want more Hobbit? Well, we’ve only scratched the surface of this press conference. Head on over to 3news.co.nz to watch the full video.
By Perri Nemiroff