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Guillermo del Toro Talks About The Hobbit

The Hellboy director is “jumping up-and-down” with excitement over the planned two-picture prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
When it was announced that Peter Jackson would not be directing the MGM-New Line Cinema co-production, panic spread throughout the fan community. The announcement that Guillermo Del Toro was in the running for the director spot did not do much to settle the waters when he was quoted as saying, "I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits—I've never been into that…I hate all that stuff."

Fan fervor has cooled somewhat as Del Toro has warmed up to the project. At this weekend’s The New Yorker Festival, Del Toro spoke with New Yorker staff writer Daniel Festival about his upcoming projects, including his preparation process for The Hobbit:

"I find you have to discipline yourself to write in the morning, and then watch and read in the afternoons stuff that seems relevant, even in a tangential way. For example, reading or watching World War I documentaries or books that I think inform 'The Hobbit,' strangely enough, because I believe it is a book born out of Tolkien's generation's experience with World War I and the disappointment of being in that field and seeing all those values kind of collapse. I think it's a turning point that you need to familiarize yourself with. I'm starting.

Del Toro went on to say:

"All my life I've been fascinated by dragons. I was born under the Chinese sign of The Dragon. All my life I'm collecting dragons. It's such a powerful symbol, and in the context of 'The Hobbit' it is used to cast its shadow through the entire narrative. Essentially, Smaug represents so many things: greed, pride… he's 'the Magnificent,' after all. The way his shadow is cast in the narrative you cannot then show it and have it be one thing, he has to be the embodiment of all those things. He's one of the few dragons that will have enormous scenes with lines. He has some of the most beautiful dialogues in those scenes!."

The Hobbit is being billed as a two-chapter film, with both films shot simultaneously. It is unclear whether both films will be drawn directly from the original source material or whether other J.R. R. Tolkien sources will be incorporated. The proposed release date for the first film is 2012.

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Brent Sprecher

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