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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Thirteen singing dwarves and a very funny Hobbit
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News from Bree

Feb 10 2011, 7:17pm

Post #1 of 62 (5752 views)
Thirteen singing dwarves and a very funny Hobbit Can't Post

"Fourteen individuals - and an ensemble."

Today's press conference opened with an apology from Peter Jackson, who said he couldn't be there as he was "under a form of medical house arrest" since being hospitalised with a perforated ulcer last week.

"And to be honest, perhaps it's just as well. These guys make me laugh so hard that I'd be in danger of popping a stitch or something," Jackson continued in his statement.

Confirming the truth of that, the cast of 13 dwarves and one hobbit kept up a constant flow of quips and wisecracks throughout the whole press conference. We knew Martin Freeman was funny with a good script - well, he's hilarious without one as well.

Many fans have been wondering whether 13 dwarves would become a generic mass in the film, or whether they would be fleshed out in the script to have individual personalities.

Dwarf actors William Kirchner and Peter Hambleton spoke on that: "We are thirteen distinct and strong personalities - but we are an ensemble as well".

Speaking of ensemble, the dwarves confirmed they'd be doing their own singing. "It's all staying very close to the book - yes, there WILL be singing."

The dwarves apparently all look very different. Aidan Turner, or Fili, said that they were still experimenting with different amounts of facial hair to define their look. "Facial hair is under review - hence the different beards we've got today!" Jed Brophy, or Nori, (who played numerous highly- prostheticised characters in LOTR) said that yes, he [and we presume the others] would be recognisable. "I'm so happy to be me. And I hope to get through this film without dying. Horribly."

As we saw before in LOTR, the script apparently offers each dwarf a chance to be highly individual, but furthermore, PJ, Fran and Philippa were alert to the quirks and strengths of each actor that became evident as they rehearsed together. So in that sense, the script - and its impact on the characters - is fluid.

Seeing the humour, camaraderie and respect between the actors already, I felt very positive that once again the film makers have picked a group whose synergy will power the appeal of the movie.

"It's a great bunch of guys," said Hambleton. "We feel like a bunch of mates already."

"We're all strong personalities, but we're all equal and we get on well together."

The cast said that far from being downcast about the delays in filming, they were appreciating having even more time to bond with each other. (There were a lot of jokes about dwarf bonding/bondage). "We don't have to wear as much latex for these roles...but we can still enjoy some on the weekends."

The team have been training hard in the four or five weeks since they arrived - going to the gym, learning some stunt moves, getting dialogue coaching. (Didn't get to ask what dialect - a question for another day!)

The Kiwi actors talked about meeting and working with international stars like Martin Freeman, Ken Stott or James Nesbitt. Mark Hadlow (Dori): "It's an amazing experience as a theatre actor, when you've been an admirer for years, as I have been, of Ken Stott's work on stage and screen; to meet with him and get to talk about all the things that we share, has been extraordinary."

The visiting actors paid tribute to the Kiwi's talent as well. "Look at Jed here, he's done it before and he's been everything in the [LOTR] movies!"

John Callen (Oin) said it wasn't just the cast who got on well. "When we're together, we're a group. We're "as one". But it's not just us. The crew work "as one" too. I've met hundreds of people working on this movie, and I have not met one tosser. Except Mark Hadlow," he joked.

The cast have met their scale doubles briefly ("What a great bunch of guys") and will be working closely with them later. The scale doubles are doing their own gruelling schedule of gym, fight and stunt training alongside the cast.

During the press conference I took note of who took a leadership role or spoke the most, since I suspect that will be a good indicator of how they act on screen.

William Kircher and James Nesbitt - Bifur and Bofur - spoke a lot and also bounced off each other like a naturally comic team. They're very funny. Nesbitt went to the rubgy Sevens ( a sort of sports carnival we have in Wellington, with lots of costumes) dressed as a chicken. "I was in the corporate box and I was the only one in costume. People were talking to me obviously thinking "he's supposed to be somebody [important] ...but...he's a chicken." Why a chicken? "It just felt right."

Rob Kazinsky - Fili - also took charge of a lot of the answers, with well-thought-out responses. He was sitting next to Aidan Turner, or Kili, who was also very charismatic "take charge", as well as funny. They're both good-looking guys and I imagine we could expect to see a lot of them on screen.

John Callen (Oin) said a few things. He had the air of a wise elder statesman, undercut by a strong vein of very dry, sly humour bubbling just underneath.

Richard Armitage (Thorin) spoke surprisingly little, but when he did he had a notably deep voice, exactly right for Thorin, and real gravitas. He walked into the conference with a kind of testosterone charged lope. I don't think he'll have any trouble holding the audience's attention.

Martin Freeman (Bilbo) was simply hilarious. He spoke a little more seriously about how he had spent time watching Ian Holm's performances as Bilbo. "Of course I've been looking at what he's been doing...I need to look at it and then forget it, in a sense, though. I look at what he does with his voice and movement...Without trying to blow my own trumpet nor with too much false modesty, I think I'm quite a good match for him. I have to try to echo and give a nod to what he's done, but still be me."

Freeman spoke highly of PJ. "For somebody who is as rich as Croesus and has that many Oscars, he's phenomenally normal. And I mean genuinely normal, as opposed to those people that play at being hip or cool or ostentatiously normal, sort of "look here's me being normal and having a normal cup of tea". No, PJ is a practitioner, not a star. I get the feeling that if you were to have known him when he was twelve, he's basically the same person now - an enthusiast.

"There's no tossers on this production - and you certainly don't want one at the top."

Nesbitt (Bofur) commented that PJ, Fran and Philippa, the writing team, were exceptionally clear and could articulate what they wanted. "But very importantly, they're great listeners and take on board what you have to offer."

Asked how they were preparing for megastardom and crazy fan hysteria, Freeman and the rest said that it was all theoretical at this point. "We've got to be good first!"

On the strength of this press conference, I think we're going to see some memorable performances from a cast that is bound to become highly popular.

Questions were mostly confined to things the cast themselves would be concerned with, so we didn't get into details some fans have been asking, such as the impact of Del Toro's departure, or whether casting for Smaug was imminent.

(This post was edited by Altaira on Feb 11 2011, 1:27pm)

Grey Havens

Feb 11 2011, 12:43am

Post #2 of 62 (2979 views)
Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

This makes the press conference sound so much more lively and fun than what the other website reported. Thank you for the detailed report!

"Speaking of ensemble, the dwarves confirmed they’d be doing their own singing. “It’s all staying very close to the book – yes, there WILL be singing.”

This makes me smile.Smile

Witchy King

Feb 11 2011, 12:50am

Post #3 of 62 (2818 views)
excellent reporting! [In reply to] Can't Post

We're already thirsty for more. =D

"He is a moss-gatherer, and I have been a stone doomed to rolling."

Superuser / Moderator

Feb 11 2011, 1:00am

Post #4 of 62 (2850 views)
Thanks Tehanu, for writing such a detailed report! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's fantastic to get a look at the news conference from a fan's point of view - your insights into the actors and how they interact with each other are fascinating.

My anticipation of these films has definitely stepped up a gear.

I wonder how the LOTR cast are feeling as they watch these vids? Are they reminiscing about their own time filming in NZ and the jokes and camaraderi they had? If anyone knows what these actors are about to face, it'll be the LOTR alumni.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 1:00am

Post #5 of 62 (2881 views)
Yes, singing [In reply to] Can't Post

I want to here about what Bilbo Baggins hates Wink

And you're spot on about the entirely different feel that Tehanu's report gave as opposed to the Dominion Post one

..The land of long-forgotten name:
......no man may ever anchor near;
..No steering star his hope may aim,
......for nether Night its marches drear,
..And waters wide no sail may tame,
......with shores encircled dark and sheer.

..O! Haven where my heart would be!
......the waves beat upon thy bar
..For ever echo endlessly,
......when longing leads thy thought afar

(This post was edited by Oiotári on Feb 11 2011, 1:01am)

Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 1:09am

Post #6 of 62 (2852 views)
What a great article! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh man, they looked very cheerful up there- I do hope that they are all good with one another, for sure.

And it's not the Dwarves' songs that I'm worried about, it's the orcs and elves! ;)

My LiveJournal ~ My artwork and photography

NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.


Feb 11 2011, 1:15am

Post #7 of 62 (2807 views)
Great report! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you muchly! I'm very excited.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


Grey Havens

Feb 11 2011, 1:45am

Post #8 of 62 (2790 views)
This article... [In reply to] Can't Post

Is full of win.


Feb 11 2011, 2:06am

Post #9 of 62 (2735 views)
I third this! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Feb 11 2011, 2:35am

Post #10 of 62 (2735 views)
Now I feel it moving forward towards December 2012! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the films will benefit from the amount of time these guys will spend together until they start shooting, more than two months of camaraderie! Cool


Feb 11 2011, 3:08am

Post #11 of 62 (2682 views)
Me, too!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I really missed the songs in LOTR.

There's going to be singing in The Hobbit! Yay! Heart

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Feb 11 2011, 3:09am

Post #12 of 62 (2690 views)
Full of win and awesome! // [In reply to] Can't Post


It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 3:38am

Post #13 of 62 (2687 views)
Great article and great news about the singing! [In reply to] Can't Post

Should be interesting how that is incorporated into the film.Smile

Middle Earth is New Zealand!

"Question everything, embrace the bad, and hold on to the good."

Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 3:44am

Post #14 of 62 (2635 views)
Squee!// [In reply to] Can't Post

That's all I have to say for now.

Where's Frodo?


Feb 11 2011, 4:58am

Post #15 of 62 (2807 views)
"testosterone charged lope" [In reply to] Can't Post

be still my heart! LOL.

Great report, Tehanu. I don't know which part made me happiest. The one for my subject or...

"there WILL be singing."

I am a giddy aunt.

LOTR soundtrack website
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide

The Grey Pilgrim

Feb 11 2011, 5:19am

Post #16 of 62 (2648 views)
Thanks for the report. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's great to finally so much of the cast together for something like this.
And Dwarves singing!
So excited!! :)


Feb 11 2011, 6:14am

Post #17 of 62 (2610 views)
There will be song! [In reply to] Can't Post

I never doubted that there would be, but it is good to see it made clear. The Truer to the book they are, at least in all scenes from the book, the happier I shall be.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Feb 11 2011, 6:31am

Post #18 of 62 (2746 views)
One think I noticed from the tv clip [In reply to] Can't Post

Richard Armitage's voice sounds spookily close to Sean Bean's. Maybe that's why they picked him as Thorin Laugh

I wonder where Sir Ian and the non-quest members are right now. Persbrandt is still in Sweden that I can tell you.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Grey Havens

Feb 11 2011, 7:12am

Post #19 of 62 (2598 views)
Before the delay [In reply to] Can't Post

McKellen said he started filming on February 21st. That's a week removed from the February 14th start date that a couple of people (including cast members) had reported.

So, if McKellen is still scheduled to begin shooting a week after everyone else starts, then he'd be needed in NZ by March 28th.

But considering that he will need to find housing and settle in, meet with Peter Jackson, begin prep work, and perhaps get re-fitted for his costume and nose piece, I think he'll be in NZ by the end of this month.

This is just me theorizing, of course.

(This post was edited by duats on Feb 11 2011, 7:13am)

Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 7:47am

Post #20 of 62 (2818 views)
Richard Armitage talking little [In reply to] Can't Post

fits well his character, IMHO. Yes Thorin can keep awfuly long speeches, but he isn't talkative. Too important for blabbering. :)

Honestly, they're all so perfect and I love them already. Heart Let's just hope as much as possible of their own personality and face will be seen.

Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 7:52am

Post #21 of 62 (2503 views)
Maybe the Rivendell elves [In reply to] Can't Post

were drunk too when they were singing? You know, celebrating the midsummer night and so on. And the orcs could have taken something stronger than themselves too, what with being filthy orces and all. And as they've already confirmed the Dwarves will be singing while drunk....... the soundtrack might turn out quite interesting.... Tongue

Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2011, 7:54am

Post #22 of 62 (2623 views)
The Dwarves & Bilbo are bonding together like the 4 Hobbits! [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ, your methods are showing.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 11 2011, 7:55am

Post #23 of 62 (2612 views)
Thank you!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a great article. The first one I read and you can feel the love and knowledge!

They sure look and sound like a great gang. Having fun, laughing with eachother, enjoying themselves. This is going to be great! I can't wait!!!!


Feb 11 2011, 8:20am

Post #24 of 62 (2542 views)
Thanks for the kind words, all of you! [In reply to] Can't Post

This turned out to be a lot of fun to write! I can't tell you how intimidating it was to show up at the press conference and most others had audio recorders, huge cameras, ipads, ipods with mics, direct satellite feeds to their home base, all the latest technology. It's only been five years since I did journalism, and everything's changed so much! So I was dreading that I wouldn't manage to pick up very much.
I had a pen, a pad ,and a small point-and-flash camera which I later learned COULD have recorded an hour of audio - though I doubt it would have picked up enough detail.
Nice for me that I sat next to an old school Associated Press guy who was, like me, just scribbling and shorthanding. He admitted he was more interested in what was going on in Egypt at that very moment, which kind of put things into perspective for me.
Shorthand's great though, and I wish I was better at it. When it's time to write the article, everything's right there in front of you and you don't have to rewind and replay a tape, which takes ages.
Big ups to my friend Kristi, who kept my tow-year-old son entertained for long enough that I could write and upload the article!

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 11 2011, 8:28am

Post #25 of 62 (2469 views)
No, thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Your article really gave more of the feel of the event than the stories written by those who don't have a personal interest. I really liked the fact that you were able to consider the actors' personalities in light of the characters they will be playing. That's the sort of thing that professional journalists who don't know the books intimately will never pick up on.


"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories

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