Cold water poured on Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit revelations video

Sir Peter Jackson and The Hobbit crew talk about the chaotic nature of the filming.

Video appearing to show the shambles behind the scenes of The Hobbit is being dismissed by the trilogy makers as an out-of-context collage.

In a new video, Sir Peter Jackson appears to detail how shambolic the production was, while his longtime collaborator Sir Richard Taylor compared the production to laying tracks down in front of a moving train.

Filming of the Hobbit trilogy went around New Zealand, including the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, where Sir Peter Jackson ...
PETER JACKSON

Filming of the Hobbit trilogy went around New Zealand, including the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, where Sir Peter Jackson called the shots.

"[Original director] Guillermo del Toro had to leave and I sort of jumped in and took over," Jackson said.

"We didn't wind the clock back a year and a half and give me the year and a half prep to design the movie I was going to make, which was different to what he was doing."

The under-prepared production was looking "impossible".

Filming of the band of dwarfs riding down the Pelorus River in the upper South Island was an involved task.
PETER JACKSON

Filming of the band of dwarfs riding down the Pelorus River in the upper South Island was an involved task.

"As a result of it being impossible, I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepared at all."

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The shoot involved regular 21-hour days and Jackson revealed how he would tell the crew to take an "extended" lunch break in order for him to get his head around the upcoming shoot.

A large crane towered above a Hobbit film set site in MIramar in June 2013.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

A large crane towered above a Hobbit film set site in MIramar in June 2013.

Much of the film was made up as production went along, and Jackson admitted that, for much of it, "I was not on top of it".

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Shooting of the famous Battle of the Five Armies battle ended up being deferred because it could not be done on time, Jackson said.

A spokesman for Jackson said the six-minute YouTube clip was cut from a 45-minute "featurette" from the Battle of the Five Armies extended DVD, which was called The Gathering Clouds.

"Somebody has decided to create this cut-down, using only the sections of The Gathering Clouds that discuss the difficulties faced, not the positive ways they were addressed and overcome – which are also covered in this and other featurettes.  

"Peter has never made a secret of the fact that he took over the Hobbit directing job with very little preparation time remaining before shooting had to begin.

"It was a challenge he willingly took on. His comments are an honest reflection of his own personal feelings at times during the movie's production."

The comments did not reflect on the production of the movies, or the finished result, the spokesman said.

"Peter is very proud of the three Hobbit movies, and actually regards this period as one of his happiest film-making experiences – something he has said publicly many times."

Moving the shooting of the battle scene had no impact on the budget or release date.

"It is exactly what any responsible director should do, given the compressed pre-production time Peter had for these three technically difficult movies. "

After Del Toro quit the film in 2010, he told the Los Angeles Times he would "love" Jackson to take the reins, but seemingly did not realise how extensively Jackson would overhaul it.

"I'll be really happy to see the designs we did come to life," Del Toro said.

While the eventual trilogy was a success at the box office, reportedly taking in nearly $4.55 billion, it did not receive the same critical praise as its predecessors, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in 2012, review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes  gave it a 78 per cent positive rating.

That compares with between 92 and 96 per cent for each of the three Lord of the Rings movies – for which Jackson and his crew had far more preparation time.

By 2015, Rotten Tomatoes' rating for An Unexpected Journey had dropped to 64 per cent, while the Desolation of Smaug was at 74 per cent, and The Battle of Five Armies at 60 per cent.

Before filming even began, the Hobbit trilogy was neck-deep in controversy when, in 2010, there was a high-profile stoush between unions and the production, and threats were made to move it offshore.

The Government stepped in to change labour laws and increase big-budget film subsidies that eventually saw the production reap $191 million in tax rebates.

 - Stuff

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