A mere few hours drive from where I sit typing, at the Wellington based WETA Workshop, film director Guillermo del Toro and producer Peter Jackson are hard at work on the most eagerly awaited set of fantasy films since Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy: the two Hobbit movies. Recently Del Toro revealed how he hopes a bit of 'poetic licence' on adapting the book by Professor J R R Tolkien will give audiences a more "majestic" experience.
With over three times the design time of Hellboy, and over three times the number of artists used on other films, Del Toro expects the production of drawings and character models, to continue through to the start of filming at the end of the New Zealand summer (March). The bulk of the design time took about a year he says, because of the unique idea he had for the monster he's most proudest of - the dragon Smaug -which will make it different to all the other dragons on film.
Aiming to add a sense of the majestic to other monsters in The Hobbit as well, Del Toro admits that some of the creature designs from LOTR, will be changing, "I wanted the Wargs to have a certain beauty so that you don't have a massively clear definition: what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is not. Some of the monsters are absolutely gorgeous"
As an added Easter Egg for fans of the source material, the director added that while the two films will follow the structure of the novel, they will also fill in a few gaps, such as what the wizard Gandalf was doing, when he was absent from the action in the book. The first of the two Hobbit films will open in 2011.
(Via Total Film Website)