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 Post subject: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:03 am 
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Peter Jackson: 'I didn’t know what the hell I was doing' when I made The Hobbit

Oscar-winning director admits he was ‘winging it’ and ‘was making it up as I went along’ for much of the fantasy trilogy’s chaotic shoot



Peter Jackson has revealed he began filming his blockbuster Hobbit trilogy without proper preparation, in many cases shooting scenes without storyboards and completed scripts in a process he described as “making it up as I went along”.

In a remarkably candid behind-the-scenes video from the Battle of Five Armies DVD, the Oscar-winning New Zealander details the radical shift in preparation time between previous JRR Tolkien trilogy The Lord of the Rings, which he had three and a half years to prepare, and its sequel saga. Jackson took over directing duties in 2010 following the departure of Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro, and according to his comments in the new video had almost no time at all to prepare his vision before shooting began and he found himself plunged into 21-hour days.
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“Because Guillermo Del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn’t wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie, which was different to what he was doing,” reveals Jackson. “It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all.

“You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot […] I spent most of The Hobbit feeling like I was not on top of it ][…] even from a script point of view Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high pressure situation.”

The chaotic state of affairs on set in New Zealand helps explain why The Battle of Five Armies was pushed back by five months in 2013, from a July 2014 release date to its final December 2014 slot. Jackson explains he “winged it” right up until the film’s climactic battle but was eventually forced to concede that production would have to be called to a halt while he worked out how to shoot it.
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“We had allowed two months of shooting for that in 2012, and at some point when we were approaching that I went to our producers and the studio and said: ‘Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing now, because I haven’t got storyboards and prep, why don’t we just finish earlier?’

“And so what that delay gives you is time for the director to clear his head and have some quiet time for inspiration to come about the battle, and start to really put something together.”

While Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy scored close to $3bn worldwide, it was not a critical hit on the scale of its predecessor. Some fans complained over the decision to split Tolkien’s breezy 293-page fantasy fable into three epic movies with a total running time of almost eight hours, and The Battle of the Five Armies was the saga’s worst-reviewed film with a barely-fresh 60% rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.


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Having just finished watching the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and comparing the two, I have to say it shows.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:38 pm 
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Yeah on the EE special features this is mentioned, and really I'm not surprised. Guess Pete felt like he was running out of time. The Hobbit took a shorter amount of time to produce than Lotr, so...

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:11 pm 
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It's pretty well known that he didn't ever want to direct the movies, he just wanted to produce them.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:01 pm 
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Explains a lot though, don't it? I haven't even seen BoFA yet and neither has my dad. My dad is just about as big a Tolkien fan as you can imagine - he read LoTR every year from when he was about 16/17 until now, aged 57. He's done the LoTR trilogy marathon a few times, he introduced my sister and I to it when the movie was announced but made us promise to get through the entire book trilogy before we saw Fellowship in theatres. He despised Desolation of Smaug and jokingly said they should have changed the title of the trilogy to "The Elf" due to Legolas having more screen time than old Bilbo!

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:47 pm 
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That's sort of the impression I got as the movies came out and we got some behind-the-scenes info, what with the constant last-minute changes.

I would say it definitely shows. The Hobbit films are a gargantuan mess. There are some great elements to the films and Martin Freeman is a great Bilbo. But the pacing is awful, visually it looks like a video game, the plot is mediocre, the set-pieces are often over the top, and the films are overstuffed with meandering subplots and unnecessary characters. The Hobbit Trilogy feels like someone threw a bunch of stuff together to see what happened.

PJ was definitely put in a precarious position when he took over for Del Toro. If he had been given more time to put the films together, I think we would have a different result. But there was too much money on the line.

There are some great fan-edits out there that chop the films down.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:38 pm 
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I guess I am more of a glass is half full person. Watching the extended version appendices where Peter Jackson talked about this you really get the sense of what pressure he was under. Of course the cynic in me wonders if the editing was done to make it appear worst than it was.

Were the Hobbit movies as good as they could have been? At first viewing in the theater - no. To me they get better with repeated viewings both in the theater and as with the LOTR movies, the extended versions are the definitive versions to watch.

I believe that Peter Jackson took too much upon himself - but that is what makes his movies him. We saw his vision of what Middle Earth is, and for the most part, I enjoyed the journey.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:23 pm 
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After finishing, literally just now, all of the appendices, it is very clear just how much time, effort and love was put into these movies. I know that there was a lot more behind the scenes stuff going on that they didn't put in because they couldn't bad mouth the studios, so I think that we're lucky to have gotten what we did. Was it as good as LotR? No, but there was no way it could have been, and I'm much more pleased with the total finished product than I was after just seeing DoS. I still hate Tauriel/Kili pairing (which at this point is really my only gripe with the whole series), but knowing that the studio forced it on them makes it a bit easier to swallow.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:37 am 
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Mapper wrote:
I guess I am more of a glass is half full person. Watching the extended version appendices where Peter Jackson talked about this you really get the sense of what pressure he was under.



He was under pressure
He was in a hurry
He didn't know how he could possibly get the film done in time.


Soooooooooooo... he decided to make it into a trilogy :yay:

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:30 pm 
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I was really happy when I heard he at least accepted it. Because there was people out there that even accepted hobbit trilogy..

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 Post subject: Re: Peter Jackson: 'I was winging it: The Hobbit'
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:48 pm 
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It's good, it' not great, but it's still a net positive, that said, not sure if I'd ever watch it again if it wasn't a precursor to LotR, it does hang on it's coattails.
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