Gearing up for the global release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the epic adventure will have its world premiere on 28 November 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. The film is the first of two films from filmmaker Peter Jackson, the Academy Award-winning director of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, who shot the films concurrently on locations across New Zealand. Jackson posted an update from the set to his Facebook page yesterday.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The second film will be “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before LOTR.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, and Martin Freeman plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from the LOTR trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
Among the creative team returning to Jackson’s crew are director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, composer Howard Shore and make-up and hair designer Peter King. The costumes are designed by Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor.
Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of weaponry, armour and prosthetics which are once again being made by the award winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital take on the visual effects for both films, led by the film’s visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. Post production will take place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.
The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.
The screenplays for both “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” are by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producer.
Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released beginning December 14, 2012. The second film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013.