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Peter Jackson Hints At The Hobbit 721

Posted by timothy
from the chip-glasses-crack-plates dept.
Hellboy0101 writes "News.com.au is reporting that New Line Cinema is currently in talks to purchase the rights to the film adaptation of The Hobbit. There are apparently some difficulties with getting the go ahead from Tolkien's son Christopher, who is executor of the estate. When asked if New Line has approached him about the project, Jackson said he has not ruled it out, but not until after King Kong is done. 'New Line, which spent $US300million ($415 million) making the films, is already planning to continue its Rings success with an adaptation of Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. More difficulties with the Tolkien estate were looming, said Jackson, who added that he would be keen to get involved after he finishes remaking King Kong in 2006. "New Line haven't actually talked to me about The Hobbit. I know there's difficulty about the rights, certainly if they want to talk to me about it I'd be keen," he said.'"
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Peter Jackson Hints At The Hobbit

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  • by r_glen (679664) * on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:43PM (#7605987)
    Learn from the mistakes of others and leave while you're on top! Besides, the animated version of The Hobbit is already a gem.
    (Although if you must... you have my sword)
    • by thdougherty (633759) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:52PM (#7606065)
      And my axe!
    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:30AM (#7606359)
      Besides, the animated version of The Hobbit is already a gem.

      Have you ever seen the damned thing? I have to admit I think it got the mood right, but man, those misshapen heads- and they really screwed up the elves! They were like little gremlins! The cartoon creators were obviously thinking of the elves that live up at the North Pole making presents for Santa. That's the wrong kind of elf. Although they did refrain from skateboarding down stairs while shooting arrows. That's one thing they did get right.

    • King Kong Bomb (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Simonetta (207550) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:22AM (#7606626)
      Director Peter Jackson has been given $400 million US to remake the classic movie 'King Kong'. Excuse me, but this is insane...

      The remake is being done on the strength of Mr. Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, which has sold (or will have sold in a few months time) over a billion dollars US in box office tickets after costing roughly $200 million to make and promote worldwide. Impressive, yes.
      The Lord of the Rings is a dense multi-volume fully realized fantasy that has offered a rich complex story and hundreds of opportunities for using state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery to complement the plot into a strong, enveloping film fantasy.
      But $400 million for King Kong?!? This is a flimsy plot about a giant ape who develops an obsession about a tiny blonde human woman pet. (Hollywood metaphor anyone?). Big monkey lives on a distant island; whites come; they capture him (somehow); they take him to New York, he flips out, smashes up some shti, climbs a building, and gets shot down. Duh, end of story.
      How is this worth making into a $400 million movie? Or, rather, how is $400 million going to make a better movie than the original or the 1978 Jessica Lange remake? More computer graphic imagery? Of what? A big monkey smashing things in NYC? Didn't we see all that already in the remake of Godzilla? You remember that... The remake of Godzilla that cost $80 million and lost most of it because it was stupid and a completely unnecessary film? How are you going to cover a $400 million investment on a big monkey film?
      I haven't seen the new Peter Jackson 'King Kong'. Hell, it hasn't even been made. In fact, the producers are wracking their pointed little heads trying to think of some new angle that will get 45 million people to pay $10 each just to cover the pre-production cost ($400 million film and $50 million in publicity).

      But I just know it's a bomb. It's the 'Gigli' of Summer 2006. And it's going to take a studio or two down with it.

      This isn't a troll, it's a tragedy...

      Thank you kindly,
      • by Uma Thurman (623807) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:33AM (#7606668) Homepage Journal
        They are making it because Hollywood has turned introspective, looking at itself for plots. They're obviously on a 100 year cycle, and are starting the second iteration. Every 100 years is going to be just like the last 100 years, but updated. If you are lucky, improved medicine will let you stand in line in the year 2077 to see a cool little movie about a guy in a galaxy far, far away. Except, you'll smell the wookie.
      • Re:King Kong Bomb (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BJH (11355) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:57AM (#7606767)
        Are you sure that's not $400 million New Zealand dollars? (That's about $US200 million.)
        • "Are you sure that's not $400 million New Zealand dollars? (That's about $US200 million.)"

          And if I download a ripped copy of that movie from Kazaa, even if I own the DVD, that money won't go to buy a gaffer's glasses.
      • by Red Pointy Tail (127601) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:06AM (#7606808)
        ...who develops an obsession about a tiny blonde human woman pet. (Hollywood metaphor anyone?).

        Yeah man, that's soooo King Kong.

        Errr wait...
      • by cei (107343) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:46AM (#7606962) Homepage Journal
        Silly, by the time it's released, ticket prices will be $15 each, so they'll only need to rope in 30 million people...
      • by ader (1402) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @05:21AM (#7607407) Homepage
        Ah yes, but there's going to be a great scene in which the CGI Kong argues with himself about whether or not he loves the girl or just wants to eat her. ("You're a liar! And a chimp!" - "Not listening!")

        Ade_
        /
      • by Shadowlore (10860) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @08:25AM (#7607855) Journal
        It is not insightful, it is flat out wrong on so many things wrong.

        Scroll to the top and reread the story.

        Wait, don't both here it is:
        "New Line, which spent $US300million ($415 million) making the films, is already planning to continue its Rings success with an adaptation of Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. "

        That plainly says they spent the money on the LoTR series, not on the King Kong Remake. Further hints include the little know fact that "films" is plural, whereas "the King Kong remake" is singular. ;)

        Oh, and not to pick any nits or anything, but Universal is the one paying Jackson to do the remake of King Kong, and has budgeted 100 million to the project.

        The only "insight" is that Simonetta didn't seem to read the original post. The tragedy is that s/he went off on poor defenseless strawman, and got a +5 insightful.

        Just goes to show that put enough monkeys at a keyboard and let them bang away, eventually they'll mod anything and everything up to +5 insightful.

  • by mikeophile (647318) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:43PM (#7605991)
    Is that some kind of euphemism?

    Like beating the Bishop?

  • My personal opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Penguinshit (591885) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:44PM (#7605999) Homepage Journal

    I've read everything Tolkien many times over. While I didn't feel the Jackson movies were completely honest to the books, I can understand his explanation regarding pacing and whatnot as it applies to the visual medium.

    I really enjoyed the first two of the Trilogy, and am very much looking forward to the third.

    If Jackson wants to take on The Hobbit, I'd be very interested in seeing the resulting work.

    • by buffer-overflowed (588867) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:52PM (#7606062) Journal
      Yea, and then... the Silmarillion.

      Tolkien's rewrite of the bible, spoken in elvish. Mel Gibson is slated for involvement, I hear.
      • by Penguinshit (591885) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:07AM (#7606202) Homepage Journal

        the Silmarillion

        Wow.. You could do a trilogy just on that amount of material alone. Of course, by then I expect it all would have been thoroughly "Lucas-ized" and the Tolkien Estate's worst fears would be realized.

        Could you imagine a 3-hour film with vignettes comprised of various parts of "Unfinished Tales"? That'd be like a Tolkien "Creepshow" (which was based on short stories by Stephen King).

      • by The Only Druid (587299) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:23AM (#7606328)
        Its worth mentioning that content wise, there is almost no parallel between the Silmarillion and the Bible. Combined with Tolkien's stated desire to create a pagan mythological history for England, this makes it pretty clear that its not "Tolkien's rewrite of the Bible".

        Moreover, the simple structure of his myths contain, if anything, a parallel to the Gnostic pseudo-christian myths of the 15th century with a creator-god with no direct intervention in the world, not to mention the lack of any Christ-figure, is quite contrary to normal Christian mythos.
      • Not as a movie. If the Silmarillion is ever done, it would need to be a mini-series or something.

        The problem is that there are some excellent dramatic stories in the Silmarillion:

        - Feanor and the revolt of the Elves, from about his birth to the time the elves establish themselves in Beleriand. It's got grreat pacing, mostly follows one character's development and history, and then after his death there's some resolution with his sons.

        - Beren and Luthien. It's got romance, adventure, action, a few daring
  • Seems odd (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hi_2k (567317) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:44PM (#7606001) Journal
    It seems really strange that The Hobbit, a story about a 3 foot tall theif, is considered a bigger event than the story of a 50 foot tall gorrilla.

    I Guess size doesnt matter.
  • Keen? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:45PM (#7606005)
    The 50's called. They want their lingo back.
  • Please, no hobbit! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Azadre (632442) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:45PM (#7606008)
    If he does this, he'll ruin a children's classic. LOTR was okay because they were for a wider audience. However, The Hobbit is more about imagination and every child will get a different interpretation. A film puts out one interpretation thus squashing imagination.
    • by mcpkaaos (449561) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:03AM (#7606162)
      If he does this, he'll ruin a children's classic... A film puts out one interpretation thus squashing imagination.

      So? That's generally the situation with any movie adapted from a book. Movies written from pre-existing works are based on another's perception of that work, never a direct expression of the work itself (unless, I suppose, the author of that work participates in the film-making. In which case the movie will still by slightly influenced by the director's interpretation). Besides, I wouldn't necessarily rule out the possibility that the same children you think are reading The Hobbit are also reading the LOTR books. In any case, they'll still get the full value of the books if they are read, and still much of the story if they just watch the movies instead without ever reading them. Either way the story is told, which is the important thing.

      It's like that version of Romeo and Juliet we all had to watch in middle school. It was a pretty loose interpretation of Shakespeare, but for those that would have never read it on their own, it atleast instilled a good sense of the work.
    • by drkich (305460) <dkichline.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:58AM (#7606518) Homepage
      An author was once asked about a film adaptation of his movie that was just awefull. The person making the comment said that they ruined the book.

      On the contrary said the author, my book still exists in its original form. Nothing has changed except that a new movie was made.
      • Somthing [harvard.edu] the "authors" comments brought to mind

        Not all experience, or learning, is positive, and some things can't be unlearned.

        "Polanyi admits that focusing on particulars may improve our capacity to attend to the overall meaning. For instance, when we analyze poetry we might temporarily destroy our appreciation of it but it also makes for a much richer understanding once our attention is returned to the whole. It can be expected that one's understanding will be different from one's original understandi

    • by tbmaddux (145207) * on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:20AM (#7606610) Homepage Journal
      If he does this, he'll ruin a children's classic... A film puts out one interpretation thus squashing imagination.
      On the other hand, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" [imdb.com] didn't ruin anything for me.
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:47AM (#7606736)
      Oh, please. Peter Jackson captured the whimsical nature of Hobbiton and that first half of Fellowship of the Ring perfectly. Every scene between Gandalf and Bilbo was magic. It'd just be that same tone throughout the Hobbit, with hints of the darker world to come in the LOTR trilogy.

      It would, quite frankly, rock.
    • by willtsmith (466546)
      I would handle this by making Pippin and Merry the narrators. They would be telling the tale to hobbit children (the movie would open with the scouring of the shire, then the kids would ask to tell the story about Bilbo).

      During the story they would flash back to Merry and Pippin squabbling about the details. In some cases they would show Merry's version and Pippin's version. Sometime more childlike sometimes more gruesome.

      What would be 100% essential is to show how Bilbo initially hid the nature of the
  • by kutuz_off (159540) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:47PM (#7606022)
    If they plan to do it, they better do it quick. The only (I believe) common character of the trilogy and the Hobbit is Gandalf. Ian McKellen isn't getting any younger.
  • LOTR actors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xpilot (117961) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:47PM (#7606025) Homepage
    I wonder if they can all get Ian Holme, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis to reprise their roles as Bilbo, Gandalf, Agent Elrond and Gollum. It would be cool if it were kept consistant with LOTR.

    • Re:LOTR actors (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mclove (266201) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:23AM (#7606326)
      I think Ian Holm might be a little too old... I mean yes, they *could* make him look younger with makeup (as they did for the flashback in FotR), but the man's 72 and pulling that look off for the entire movie would be rather difficult. PJ doesn't seem like the sort of director who'd jump through hoops for the sake of preserving a tiny bit of extra consistency with the trilogy.

      Andy Serkis, on the other hand... I can't imagine anyone else playing Gollum now. And just think of it, a crowded theater sometime in the winter of 2009, Bilbo in a cave, then a familiar CGI face and the first whisper of "Precious"... think of the beginning of the opening crawl for Episode 1 (when we didn't know how badly it would suck) and multiply it by 10 and that's what you'll get.

      And of course we have to have Ian McKellen playing Gandalf too, simply because he loves doing it and there's no one better out there for the role.
      • Re:LOTR actors (Score:3, Informative)

        by deblau (68023)
        And of course we have to have Ian McKellen playing Gandalf too, simply because he loves doing it

        He doesn't particularly mind doing Gandalf, but I wouldn't say it's his favorite, by a long shot. Read the White Book [mckellen.com] entry from three weeks ago, especially the part about signing autographs. For more of his take on LOTR, read his journals [mckellen.com]. I'd reproduce the relevant paragraphs here, but the site doesn't allow it.

    • by professorhojo (686761) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:36AM (#7606394)
      > I wonder if they can all get... Andy Serkis

      if?

      i think he's already waiting in the studio carpark.

      prof.
      • by drix (4602)
        Actually, he's too busy filming the MTV Movie Awards parody of ROTK to involve himself in another project.

        Like the keymaker...
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:48PM (#7606026)
    Do not let that guy with the prehensile uvula mangle the song The Road Goes Ever On like he did in the Rankin/Bass cartoon.
  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wordsmith (183749) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:48PM (#7606027) Homepage
    Now I wasn't clear from the summary, but are you saying there's some sort of difficulty with getting the rights from the estate? Or that he'll wait until after King Kong? I think you need to repeat it maybe 6-7 more times, just to be sure.
  • by gonerill (139660) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:54PM (#7606077) Homepage
    Ask anyone who ever read the Lord of the Rings as a kid and then went and read the Hobbit afterwards. Although it's a delightful children's novel, the Hobbit is inevitably a terrible disappointment after the scope and depth of the LOTR.

    The only way it would work would be if it was deliberately filmed and marketed as a movie for young children.

    • by Xpilot (117961) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:02AM (#7606158) Homepage
      Although it's a delightful children's novel, the Hobbit is inevitably a terrible disappointment after the scope and depth of the LOTR.

      I wouldn't put down The Hobbit like that. Even though the details are simplified, it doesn't mean they aren't there. I read The Hobbit, and then LOTR, the Silmarillion, then going back to reread The Hobbit I found that it's remarkably consistant with the materials from the other books (granted, Tolkien did a bit of revisionist history with "The Hobbit", but I digress).

      The Hobbit also introduces us to the hardy race of halflings which at first seem unlikely that little Bilbo could even survive the dangerous journey with the dwarves, but later he turns into the most resourceful and most heroic character in the book (very convincingly too).

      The only way it would work would be if it was deliberately filmed and marketed as a movie for young children.

      I'm not sure it'll be terribly suitable for young children. It's going to have giant spiders biting the protagonists, and the battle of five armies is rather bloody indeed.

    • > Ask anyone who ever read the Lord of the Rings as a kid and then went and read the Hobbit afterwards. Although it's a delightful children's novel, the Hobbit is inevitably a terrible disappointment after the scope and depth of the LOTR.

      Not me. I read LoTR, then after many years re-read it and then read The Hobbit for the first time. And frankly, I think The Hobbit is a better story.

      LoTR scores high on conception, but has its problems. IMO the author is too heavy handed, recycles too many of his own

    • Agree partly. I couldn't read the Hobbit at all after I read LotR. But I started reading The Hobbit to my kids to get them into it, and I discovered that the book is meant to be read aloud ... there seems to be a lot of poetry in the book when it is spoken that you miss if you just read it by yourself.

      Maybe as a movie some of that effect would come out.

  • For the Community (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:54PM (#7606078)
    From the article: If he can't have a museum, Jackson wants a bronze statue of the film's characters in Wellington to thank the people of New Zealand for their support - and the $NZ300 million ($265 million) tax break they gave the producers. "We have appealed to (the Tolkien estate) at various times to do something for the community but they keep saying no," Jackson said.

    Someone should tell Jackson that there's a whole lot you can do for a community besides put up a museum or a monument to what you did with their tax break, and it need not even be an eyesore like that statue he wants. How about building parks and playgrounds? Contributing to local health programs? Financial aid for economically depressed areas? Charities? Libraries? Help for schools?

    These and a whole lot of others are ways to give back to the community in ways that really help. And they don't require the permission of the Tolkien estate either.

    • by IshanCaspian (625325) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:21AM (#7606315) Homepage
      The guy's a filmmaker giving the equivalent of a giant thank-you card, not a civil servant.
  • by myc (105406) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:56PM (#7606106)
    I think the Hobbit, in a screenplay more true to the original book, will work better on film than LoTR, because it's a far shorter and more self-contained story that will translate to the big screeen more effectively. It's not as deep as LoTR, and will appeal to children. Because it has the potential to be more true to the books, the diehards will be happy, and new fans will also enjoy the simpler storyline.

    Remember the animated version? It was really goood! I'd imagine that a live action version, using WETA's technology, could potentially be even better.
  • by downix (84795) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:05AM (#7606182) Homepage
    The fabled new character [bbspot.com] from Return of the King would be an ideal inclusion on this new Hobbit movie. 8)

  • by Anteros (146489) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:07AM (#7606200)
    Maybe they could get Leonard Nimoy to pen the songs for the Hobbit movie.

    He could use this as his resume for the job:
    http://homepage.mac.com/evanbaumgardner/iMovieThea ter6.html [mac.com]
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:18AM (#7606602)
    You are in a comfortable tunnel like hall.
    to the east there is the round green door.
    you see:
    the wooden chest.
    Gandalf. Gandalf is carrying
    a curious map.
    Thorin.
    Gandalf gives the curious map to you.
    Thorin says " Hurry up "

    > HIT THORIN

    You attack Thorin.
    But the effort is wasted. His defense is too strong.
    Thorin attacks you.
    With one well place blow Thorin cleaves your skull.
    You are dead.
    You have mastered 0.0% of this adventure.

  • by dswensen (252552) * on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:06AM (#7606805) Homepage
    In the audio commentary to the Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition DVD, Peter Jackson mentioned that he asked to keep the set of Bag End completely intact and in storage rather than having it torn down like most of the rest of the Lord of the Rings sets. New Line agreed, and Peter Jackson said that he has a complete, life-sized Bag End sitting in storage, ready to reassemble on the side of some hill.

    I think he cracked a joke about building it somewhere and living in it, but hey, this way they can just break it out of storage and rebuild it and it will be the same set from Fellowship... instant continuity.
  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:19AM (#7606856) Homepage Journal
    I'm so glad that the Tolkien estate has so much control over Hobbit derivatives. I'm sure that given the extended incentive provided by Congress, Tolkien is using the money he's still making to write yet more fiction for us to enjoy.

    Oops, he's been dead for thirty years. Probably isn't going to be writing another book set in Middle Earth I guess.

    The Hobbit was published in 1937. I think 66 years is plenty of time to recoop the his effort. I appreciate the intent of allowing copyright to pass on to one's heirs, but it's been 30 years since Tolkien died. Can't Christopher Tolkien create something of value himself to provide for himself? Heck, he's got to be doing well, and at 77 maybe it's time to retire and let the rest of the world enjoy a work you didn't actually create!

    The Founder's Copyright [creativecommons.org] still covers 99% of the potential value of copyrighted works and manages to do it without putting culture under chains.

    • by jkantola (84776) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:51AM (#7608230)

      Try reading the Silmarillion or the Unfinished Tales. Why, take a look at the Books of Lost Tales as well.

      It is quite possible that those beautiful, indeed, essential volumes in the tale of the Middle-Earth would not exist without Christopher, or at least wouldn't, in all probability, fit in so well with the original published works of JRRT. Christopher is, quite understandably so, the best Tolkien scholar par none.

      It's actually interesting how real life mirrors the fantasy. What Christopher's been doing with his father's writings is very much the same thing that Frodo and Sam did for Bilbo's Red Book.

      I for my part am forever grateful for Christopher for publishing any- and everything his father left behind. And I understand his grudge with the franchising of Middle-Earth, even as I love the movies on their own accord.

      Are they selling McLembas already?
  • by keshet (135766) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:49AM (#7606973)
    ..at a screening for reviewers (my mother is a reviewer) in NYC
    No spoilers:
    - Well another great chapter awaits!
    - The battle scenes are stupendous, quite exhausting
    - It is *long* (we didn't get an intermission)
    - There are a couple of Monty Python-like lines which although not intentional drew some laughs
    - The end is kind of soppy (well what did you expect)
    - Towards the end it felt like Spielburg was on the job, squeezing out every last ounce of emotion
    - Gandalf for president!
  • by geekwench (644364) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @05:02AM (#7607352)
    The Estate (and Christopher) are not behind any difficulties currently facing a Wingnut Films production of The Hobbit. Warner Bros. Pictures, however, is.

    In 1976, the Saul Zaentz Co., doing business as Tolkien Enterprises [tolkien-ent.com], acquired rights to both The Hobbit and LotR. This agreement included the film rights. Tolkien Enterprises entered into an agreement with WB so that they could film the Rankin & Bass animated version of The Hobbit. Now comes the fun part: WB still has those rights, and they're sitting on them like a broody hen with only one egg.
    New Line can't greenlight Peter -- they don't have the rights, and aren't likely to get them in the near future. Rumor has it that a few of the key brass over at the Frog Studio are a little cheesed off about the fact that a bunch of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and other assorted mangy fairy-tale creatures have been collectively kicking the backside of a certain boy wizard at the box office for the past two Christmases running. Heh.

    Now OTOH, the Tolkien Estate is being a pain in the butt about the idea of a movie museum in Wellington. And for that, Christopher Tolkien can rightly be accused of behaving like the dog in the manger.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:12AM (#7608025)
      Just a sec....

      Isn't NewLine part of AOL^H^H^H Time Warner?
      According to This [timewarner.com], they are.

      And Warner Pictures is too?

      Considering there were a number of reports that TW's profits for the last few years was largely influenced by LOTR:FOTR & TTT - it shouldn't take much for NewLine to receive the rights....

      Should it?

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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