How would you direct The Hobbit?

Say you pull a thorn out of the Pope’s butt and he grants you one wish. You wish for Peter Jackson to eat some bad sushi on the day the director for The Hobbit is chosen. He pukes all over the head of New Line Cinema and is sent away in shame and dishonor. The only reasonable choice left to direct the movie is YOU!

But wait! How do you handle it?

It’s a little bit too long to fit into one movie, but there’s no good breaking point to make it two movies, and the public is very fickle; while breaking Lord of the Rings up into multiple movies was a brilliant idea that worked amazingly well, it could been seen as a gimmick if tried again. So what do you cut out?

How long would your movie be (don’t say 7 hours - let’s try to keep it realistic) and how would it progress from start to finish? How much time would you spend on key events? It is presumed that much would have to be taken out for reasons of time - would you add anything?

Do you keep the same cast? Ian Holm as Bilbo? Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf? Should Gandalf be shown to look slightly younger?

How would you handle the appearance of Gollum? The public is very accustomed to how he looks, but he would likely have looked quite different in the age of the Hobbit, between being outside of his cave and away from the life-preserving powers of the ring for many years. Do you stay with the tried-and-true look that works or be true to the hardcore fans and give him a makeover?

Does Agent Smith get to keep his role as Elrond?

Who will play the major uncast roles, such as Bard?

Will Beorn make the cut this time?

Do the dwarfs still look fat and stocky (as well as nearly immobile), with huge, face-engulfing beards, or will they get a slightly more friendly, more agile, less cluttered look?

Will Hobbiton and Rivendale look the same?

Will you include the battle of the five armies?

Will the orcs/“goblins” look the same?

Will the eagles look the same? (I’m trying not to comment…yet…but I thought the eagles looked quite poor in the movies and will need a significant makeover. Opinions?)

What else would you do? What would change? What would stay the same?

I would say no thanks, as I know I wouldn’t do the book justice if forced to leave anything out, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

I only hope Peter Jackson will come to his senses and do the same.

The hobbit would work much better as a miniseries – it’s essentially just a series of adventures with no real over-arching plot.

I also think doing it after LOTR was such a success is a recipe for failure as everyone now know who Gollum is and what the ring is. It’s a shame though, I’ve always liked the Hobbit more than LOTR, for the same reason I like FOTR (book and film) best; I like the rambling adventure tale far more than the saving the world from ultimate evil one.

I think the Hobbit lends itself better to movie form than the Lord Of The Rings. I felt that the Hobbit had an overall theme to the project rather than the many themes and events of Lord of the Rings. The theme in the Hobbit would be the many talents and abilities that grow out of Bilbo through his adventures. Unlike Frodo and company, Bilbo starts out at one place and has completely evolved by the end. He starts out hating adventures, and ends up not only enjoying them but learning more about his strengths.

Keep Ian Holm and Ian McKellen.

I think most things could be included in a three hour movie. Much of the descriptive narration is cut out in a movie. The animated version of the Hobbit managed to get in most of the adventures without sacrificing much.

The three major action sequences would be the flight from the goblins. the spiders, and the battle of five armies.

Gollum’s game would definately be included.

Music would be lighter in tone.

The tone of the whole work should be lighter and more child friendly. Bilbo could keep an internal monologue in his head to help narration.

Me, The Director: All right, will all of you playing Hobbits in this scene stand up, we’re ready to shoot.

Hobbiton Players: We are standing up, you dipshit!

Me, The Director: <running, trying to avoid the shower of thrown prosthetic hairy feet>

It’s going to be hard, with LOTR still fresh in people’s minds: you’ve got twelve {?} dwarven characters to keep distinct, many of whom are just comic relief {of course, you can cast Brian Blessed, cruelly neglected in the casting of LOTR, as Thorin}; the Trolls are comically chatty rather than dull insensate brutes; you’ve got elves who essentially just hang out in trees and sing songs at passersby; Gandalf is considerably less powerful {being treed by goblins and reduced to throwing burning pinecones at them}; then, of course, there’s the Necromancer. I know he’s not a major presence in The Hobbit, but do you reveal him as Sauron resurgent? Rather you than me, and I think Peter Jackson was wise to leave it alone.

Wow, you make some good points that I hadn’t thought of.

Firstly, Thorin was not in the LOTR movies to my knowledge, and if he was it was a major error, seeing as how he was not alive during that time period.

As for the trolls…very good point.

Gandalf being treed by goblins I don’t see as a problem, especially if he magically lights the pinecones on fire. After all, this is Gandalf the Gray we’re talking about, not Gandalf the White. He was in just as much danger against the Moriah orcs as the rest of the fellowship.

The Necromancer…also probably not a problem. People will understand that this is a prequel and the Necromancer isn’t really even necessary to the story. I suspect Gandalf would just be called away to investigate “a growing darkness in the east” and people would either know it was Sauron or not care what it was.

Overall, a big choice would be whether or not to make it a kids movie. If so, I hope they’re subtle about it by simply turning down the violence a little bit and lightening the tone (music a little happier, dark places not so dark, etc), as opposed to cheesing up the dialogue and trying to make it too funny and syrupy-sweet.

If asked to direct ‘The Hobbit’, I would secretly get Peter Jackson to do it (using the name Alan Smithee). Plus the crew that worked on Lord of the Rings.

Ian Mckellen thinks ‘The Hobbit’ would work better as a TV series.
(As other posters have pointed out, it’s a series of chapters, each with a climax.)
You also have to decide if you aim it at children (which was the purpose of the original). But the trolls must become more dangerous, and the Elves more awesome.

Gollum is not a problem.
At the start of the Return of the King, Extended Edition, there is a series of shots showing Gollum’s decline (starting with him looking like Andy Serkis!). Just adapt the CGI.

Ian Holm is sadly rather old now for that Bilbo - perhaps a cameo appearance at the end showing him writing the book.

Who is this ‘Agent Smith’ of which you speak? Was he in some trilogy that rapidly grew worse?
Yes, of course we bring Hugo back to play Elrond. He’s already appeared thousands of years before the events in ‘The Hobbit’ (in the LOTR prologue) and elves are ageless anyway.

Other roles such as Bard and Beorn should go to those who Jackson selects, not to Hollywood ‘stars’.

You should indeed be compatible with the Lord of the Rings. It reassures, rather than confuses the audience. Think how many people have already got mental pictures of Middle Earth.

Battle of the Five Armies? A snip after Helm’s Deep and Pelennor Fields!

I would throw in more of Gandalf’s thinking about the Necromancer actually being Sauron and removing Smaug before Sauron could ally with him.

Utter nonsense. I sincerely hope Jackson is given the opportunity to direct the Hobbit…he would do wonders with it.

There would have to be a couple changes in the Hobbit to make it fit the LOTR movies, if it were done by Jackson with continuity in mind.
First of all, as has been mentioned, the elves would have to be given a bit more gravitas. Singing, okay, but they couldn’t be presented as the scatterbrained nutcases they were in the book.
The trolls wouldn’t be that big of a deal…just give them voices. Yes, the ones in the LOTR movies didn’t talk, but those were CAVE trolls. :wink:
The dwarves wouldn’t be too big of a problem either, since any actor can be given the makeup treatment that Rhys-Davies had. Keeping all those dwarves straight WILL be a problem for the audience, but I think Jackson would handle that by making it a running gag—having Bilbo never know exactly which dwarf he was talking to, or something of the sort.
As for actors, I am not sure who you get to play Bilbo…maybe some unknown B actor. Or maybe you go with a made-up Elijah Wood.
Bard would be a good chance to bring in a “name” actor to give a meaty role.
I certainly hope they get the rights to this movie straightened out, because I want to see it.

I would make it a 3 1/2 hour movie; Dark in tone. PG-13.

Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, and Andy Sterkis all return (with a brief cameos of all the LotR Hobbits and Legolas)

The beginning would be taken directly from Unfinished Tales (The Quest for Erebor), and would show Gandalf travelling to the Blue Mountains and convincing the Dwarves to go to the Shire.

The company would get to Thranduil’s realm fairly quickly, with all of the major events shown: Trolls, Beorn, Spiders, etc.

Erebor, Smaug, and the Battle of the Five Armies would get beefed up, and be the major focus of the movie, at least an hour.

Radaghast the Brown gets some screen time (played by Christopher Walken).

The Necromancer (and Dol Guldor) is shown.

The Extended Edition DVD comes with a 20 minute campfire scene, where Gandalf tells Bilbo and Dwarves about heroes and events of the First Age in Beleriand. :wink:

First of all, there’s no problem with fitting the Hobbit into two hours. Look at the Rankin-Bass version which wasn’t perfect but fit the important parts of the stories into seventy minutes. The big key to adaption is knowing what can be cut and what can be compressed. It’s part of the reason why Jackson’s Lord of the Rings works for more than just Tolkien geeks.

So, if you work with just the exposition you have to use you’ve got fifteen minutes to set up Bilbo, the party, the quest and leaving Hobbiton. Now the quest is set up, a ten minute (if that) interlude with trolls. Get in and out of Rivendell in five minutes (it’s just too exposition heavy and the only thing you really need is Elrond finding the runes on the map). Up into the mountants and now you’ve got a lot of time you can spend on exciting action sequences with goblins and gollum. Lets be generous since this is a major set peice for the movie and give it half an hour of screen time. Beorn can be skipped; like Bombadil he’s a interlude that really isn’t absolutely necessary. Give them ten minutes to get through Mirkwood (really only the spiders are necessary here), the elven capture and escape really doesn’t take that much time to show so five minutes should be enough to set them up. Just a couple minutes in Lake Town to set up the mountain approach (we’ll say another five, but that’s probably too much). The approach, the finding of the door, and Bilbo’s confrontation with Smaug really shouldn’t take up more than ten minutes. A ten minute dragon attack set peice, a couple of minutes of the dwarves celebrating as people prepare to attack, fifteen minutes for the battle of five armies (which really doesn’t need that much time; it really can be done justice in just five or ten minutes but the movie needs a big action climax) and a couple minutes for Bilbo to wrap up the loose ends and Bilbo to return home.

Anything longer than two and a half hours would feel like it was dragging the plot out; the Hobbit really is fairly short.

I really spend far too much time mentally casting a theoretical Hobbit movie.

Here are a few roles not mentioned much so far:

Beorn: Robbie Coltrane
Bard: Kenneth Branagh
Voice of Smaug: Patrick Stewart
Goblin king: Rowan Atkinson

Ummm… were any of the LotR hobbits besides Bilbo alive at the time of The Hobbit?

PJ would be the only choice to direct The Hobbit. I hope it happens. It should have about the same run length as the LotR movies (2 1/2 - 3 hours). Target the same audience as the LotR movies (ie. me!).

Sir Ian is most definitely Gandalf. Ian Holm gets the cameo at the end that someone else suggested. Someone new and younger plays Bilbo for the rest of the movie. Hugo is back as Elrond. I’m thinking maybe Eric Bana as Bard. Gollum looks the same and is done by Andy Serkis again. I have no ideas for someone to play Thorin. Most of the rest of the dwarves are sort of throw away with the possible exceptions of Bombur for humor and Gloin for the Gimli connection. I would consider Rhys-Davies again for Gloin with slightly different makeup. Balin could also be developed a bit more to give repeat viewers of LotR more empathy for the tomb scene in Moria.

The story is going to be a real rollercoaster ride with plenty of peaks. There’s the escape from the trolls, the escape from the goblins (both times), Bilbo and Gollum, the spiders, the escape from the elves, Bilbo finding the dragon horde, Smaug’s attack, and tBoFA. The eagle scenes are obviously in place and key to the story. The Boern scene gets filmed for the EE, but is probably left on the cutting room floor for the theatrical release. The trolls could be left for the EE as well, since that’s where they appeared in the FotR movie. The Necromancer can be unmentioned other than a “darkness” that Gandalf has to investigate. Gandalf could even be called away by Galadriel if introducing Radagast seems too throw away.

So, when does filming start? I want to see this at Christmas 2007 at the latest!

Do you think he’s old-looking enough? I always pictured Bard as more weathered. Not OLD old, but a mid-forties looking guy.

The primary problem I see with a Hobbit movie is that we have already seen most of the effects/monsters/characters/etc. in LOTR. Part of the reason (I would say the main reason) that these movies draw people is to see how the things in the book are interpreted, but they’ve already seen Elves, Rivendall, Orcs, armies, Eagles, Wargs, Trolls, Giant Spiders, Gandalf, Golumn, Hobbiton, etc. That leaves the dragon, which in my opinion would be worth 5$ alone, but the first half of the movie might still be kind of boring.

For that reason I would expand Beorn’s part. He would be a new and interesting character, and watching him rip through the orcish ranks as a giant bear during the battle of the 5 armies would be awesome. The playful aspect of the elves would also be expanded, simply because this is something new. I think it could be reconciled with the more dower elves of LOTR, who, after all are living in a more depressing time.

I would take advantage of the success of the new movies to truncate any explanation of hobbits at the beginning, instead just introducing Bilbo through the Unexpected Party, since everyone in the western world now knows what a hobbit is, and then leaving Hobbiton, that ought to free up some time. I’d also shorten the flight from the warg riders/orcs after the escape from the misty mountains, as we’ve already seen enough of heros running from orcs in LOTR. In fact, if time became a serious restraint, the eagles could be cut entirely, as the scene with them in the Hobbit was basically copied into the end of the ROTK movie, and having a new army arrive at the last moment of a loosing battle is something that Tolkein frankly has overused, and PJ even more so on LOTR.

Of course this rather awkwardly puts only 4 armies at the battle of the 5 armies, so that might be a problem that would be difficult to explain away.

Uh, Hmm, hehe…

Scratch that part about the LotR Hobbits making cameos. I stand corrected. Frodo was born in 2968. Bilbo left for Erebor in 2941.


You mean more like Viggo or Sean Bean? I guess it’s been a while since I read the hobbit. I was thinking of Bana’s part in Troy. He seemed to be able to convey a presence on a battlefield. Sure he’s a pretty boy, but not in the way Orlando Bloom. He’s more rugged than that. I’m sure if they thought for a while that they could get Stuart Townsend to work as Aragorn, they could put a few years on Bana. Regardless, considering the casting of LotR, I would trust PJ to find someone.

I disagree about leaving out the eagles. Showing them in The Hobbit, including the rescue from the trees, would help fill in the gaps for those that have only seen the movie version of LotR.

… way of Orlando Bloom …

Well of course the Sackville Bagginses are alive, so they would surly get their cameo :slight_smile:

Well, I’d like to keep the rescue from the trees (but not thier saving the day at the battle of the 5 armies, for the reason I stated earlier), as well, but if we’re going to drop something to shave off time, the eagles would be on the top of my list.