- Associated Press - Friday, December 7, 2012

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) - Many fans are eagerly anticipating a return to the fictional world of Middle-earth with next week’s general release of the first movie in “The Hobbit” trilogy. Director Peter Jackson and the film’s stars speak to The Associated Press about making “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”:

_ Jackson on shooting at 48 frames per second instead of the standard 24: “We’ve seen the arrival of iPhones and iPads and now there’s a generation of kids _ the worry that I have is that they seem to think it’s OK to wait for the film to come out on DVD or be available for download. And I don’t want kids to see `The Hobbit’ on their iPads, really. Not for the first time. So as a filmmaker, I feel the responsibility to say, `This is the technology we have now, and it’s different … How can we raise the bar? Why do we have to stick with 24 frames? …’”

“The world has to move on and change. And I want to get people back into the cinema. I want to play my little tiny role in encouraging that beautiful, magical, mysterious experience of going into a dark room full of strangers, and being transported into a piece of escapism.”

_ Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) on shooting some scenes without other actors around: “I must admit I found the green screen and all that easier than I thought I would. … I found the technical aspect of it quite doable. Some of it’s difficult, but it’s quite enjoyable, actually. It taps into when I used to play `war’ as a 6-year-old. And the Germans were all imaginary. Because I was playing a British person. So yeah, I was on the right side. …”


On marrying his performance to that of Ian Holm, who played an older Bilbo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy: “I knew I couldn’t be a slave to it. Because as truly fantastic as Ian Holm is in everything, and certainly as Bilbo, I can’t just go and do an impression of Ian Holm for a year and a half. Because it’s my turn. But it was very useful for me to watch and listen to stuff he did, vocal ticks or physical ticks, that I can use but not feel hamstrung by.”

_ Hugo Weaving (Elrond) on the differences in tone to the “Rings” trilogy: “This one feels lighter, more buoyant, but it’s got quite profoundly moving sequences in it, too … I think it’s very different in many ways, and yet it’s absolutely the same filmmaker, and you are inhabiting the same world.”

_ Elijah Wood (Frodo) on returning to Middle-earth in a cameo role: “It was a gift to come back … what they’d constructed was such a beautiful remembrance of the characters from the original trilogy.”

_ Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) on the toughest part of filming: “Trying to keep my children off the set.”

_ Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) on being a 6-foot-2 guy playing a dwarf: “It’s amazing how quickly you get used to it. And also, we spent most of the shoot much bigger than a 6-foot-2 guy. I mean, I had lifts in my shoes, I was wider, I was taller, and bigger-haired. And I actually think that was quite an interesting place to be, because I do think dwarfs have big ideas about themselves …”

_ Andy Serkis (Gollum) on taking on the additional role of second-unit director: “There were only a couple of times where there were really, really black days where I went away thinking, `This is it. I can’t do it.’ But on the whole, Pete (Jackson) was so brilliant at allowing me to set stuff up and then critiquing my work … but at least I would have my stab at it.”

On the film itself: “I think it’s a great story. I think it’s a beautifully crafted film with great heart. A rollicking adventure, and it feels to me like this really massive feast that everyone will enjoy eating.”