As you may remember, in 2006 I was lucky enough to be able to travel to New Zealand and go on a bunch of different Lord of the Rings filming location tours, including one that went to Matamata, a.k.a. Hobbiton/The Shire. That’s me in Bag End!
I have a friend who’s done the same tour, and she recently returned from a second visit to the Shire. She had some pretty interesting rumors to share, which I thought my fellow LOTR nerds would appreciate me passing along. So here you go:
“We just got back from our cold and misty visit to Hobbiton. We can’t post any photos of the work site or give any information we got on the set since we had to sign a confidentiality agreement. But [name deleted], who just got back from their full 12-day tour, told us that some of the tour operators on the South Island have been told that they will not be able to take tours out to certain sites (those to be reused for the Hobbit movies) in September and October of this year. Apparently Peter Jackson is in LA negotiating the start of filming (which it is almost sure he will direct). Ian McKellan is getting a bit “testy” about not having a contract yet for his role as Gandalf because of the MGM mess, which is making everyone a bit nervous…Elrond and Gollum are a lock with original actors and for the rest, PJ has said he’s looking for fairly unknown actors, except for maybe Bilbo. Apparently Tom Cruise and PJ recently “hung out” in New Zealand, but unless he’s playing one of the trolls with very heavy makeup and a synthesized voice, it’s hard to imagine what Tom Cruise could do in the Hobbit ;-) Another possible snag is that a lot of the Weta Workshop crew are now in Auckland working on a TV series, The Power Rangers. [Name deleted] estimated that filming at Hobbiton could begin in January, i.e. NZ summer, and last about a month.
Anyway with all the time, money and work that has already gone and is currently going into this one set, the movie must be a go. According to [name deleted] , it looks very much like negotiations are under way to be allowed to leave some of the sets behind.”
Interesting, huh? Also many people would disagree that Jackson is “a lock” to direct the Hobbit films. In fact, sources at TheOneRing.net are fairly confident that the guy behind the camera is going to be Peter Jackson protege and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. If you want to know why, you should definitely read the full scoop here.
As far as I’m concerned, until an official announcement is made, I’m not paying too much attention to any of the gossip. I just hope this freaking movie will become a reality in my lifetime! Is that too much to ask?