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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
New info about Smaug in Empire Magazine
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thomasofrohan
Lorien

Oct 31 2013, 2:58pm

Post #1 of 76 (2460 views)
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New info about Smaug in Empire Magazine Can't Post

Including an (expected) confirmation that he actually talks; it's not psychic.

Phillipa Boyens: Smaug is the physical manifestation of one of the themes of the book - greed to the point of sickness. There is an obscenity about him. It is "dragon sickness". That is the wonderful phrase that Tolkien uses. This creature is driven by this illness, this utter sense of greed and avarice, but it is beyond greedy, it is its own thing - a living, breathing energy that he has. He will not part with a single coin. The dwarves carry a little bit of that in their hearts too.

Benedict Cumberbatch: Playing Smaug was separate from any experience you can ever have as an actor - playing a fire-breathing reptile is quite out there! I just had to dive in at the deep end. I walked out and felt a bit like a prick. But no-one seemed to notice so that was okay.

Peter Jackson: Tension is the thing with the animation. He has got a long neck, and at any point he could strike like a cobra. You don't want to let anything relax. Smaug has his sheer size and intelligence and cunning.

Phillipa Boyens: You have to be careful you don't go too Scar from The Lion King, and Benedict was concerned that he didn't sound too pantomime. Everything we thought about was why didn't he kill this little creature? Ultimately he's vain, and Bilbo has one little instinctive moment to play to that vanity, which sort of works. What I love about what Pete has done is that Smaug never loses his power or status. As Bilbo says, "Do not laugh at a live dragon..."

Fran Walsh: He is quite English!

Peter Jackson: We questioned whether we would have the dragon actually talking. I couldn't get Sean Connery from DragonHeart out of my head. We did an animation test with some scenes from film two where the dragon is speaking purely psychically. We are hearing it in Bilbo's head. It felt odd. Once you saw the dragon talking with Benedict's voice, it was just fantastic. I had no more Sean Connery issues at that point.

Boyens: The first time I heard Benedict say, "I smell you, thief," it sent shivers through me.


xxxyyy
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 3:15pm

Post #2 of 76 (1226 views)
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Nice... Smaug could have been great. [In reply to] Can't Post

Now, please, when you all see him talking during your first view, PLEASE, don't laugh, please show some respect, do not leave the theater. Just sink down in your seat and try to hide the embarassment.

Oh God, I hope I'm wrong...

http://energyfromthorium.com/


haarp
Rivendell


Oct 31 2013, 3:26pm

Post #3 of 76 (1137 views)
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6 [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug talking was the only option. Having psychic powers would be stupid.


xxxyyy
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 3:29pm

Post #4 of 76 (1102 views)
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Psychic powers came from the Ring, as is clearly written by Tolkien. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, if I'm not mistaken, they actually have psychic powers.
Having him talk was never an issue.
The issue is the lip sync.
Let's just hope they used some different unknown techinque.

http://energyfromthorium.com/

(This post was edited by xxxyyy on Oct 31 2013, 3:31pm)


sycorax82
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 3:30pm

Post #5 of 76 (1041 views)
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I am thinking you will be so wrong! [In reply to] Can't Post

The way they are handling Smaug sounds fine to me. Aside from various character beats between Bilbo and Thorin, Smaug is the one thing they MUST get right. Everyone is waiting for Smaug, just like we were doing the same 11 years ago with Gollum.

It's all there in the book. As easy as it is to delve into Tolkien's own embellishment of the Hobbit story, all the background materials, all the interpretations of dragons there have been over the years etc. All you have to do is read those pages from the book and it's all there. Smaug's sheer size, his vanity, the way he speaks, how he looks, how Erebor looks, how Bilbo reacts.

Smaug does need to speak with his mouth. I wouldn't have it any other way.


xxxyyy
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 3:36pm

Post #6 of 76 (1000 views)
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The fact that they tried that psychic talk is a bit reassuring... [In reply to] Can't Post

Now that I have a bit calm down, I have to give them a little credit.
They knew a lip sync dragon would be aweful, so they experimented in different ways.
I guess they have found something better, otherwise they would have stick to the psychic talk... I guess...
I still have faith.

http://energyfromthorium.com/


sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 3:43pm

Post #7 of 76 (958 views)
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This sounds quite promising. [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ/FW/PB's choices with The Hobbit haven't been that great so far in my opinion, but this sounds like it's working, especially considering the Cumberbatch factor.

I remain cautiously optimistic...


1415dr
The Shire

Oct 31 2013, 4:06pm

Post #8 of 76 (982 views)
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The voice is nice, but [In reply to] Can't Post

Too bad he'll be tottering around on the tips of his wings now that he's down to two legs.


AncalagontheBlack
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 4:22pm

Post #9 of 76 (890 views)
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It could be okay [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember thinking the Dragon Vermithrax? from the early 80's movie Dragonslayer actually looked pretty good for the technology and special effects of the day. I believe it was a similar design where its forelimbs and wings were single appendages. CGI and 30+ years of special effects advancement and we could still get an awesome looking Dragon. I am sure Smaug design was an exhaustive process and have to believe John Howe and Alan Lee were integral in the process.

I am hoping anyway. I have always loved Dragons and especially in Tolkien Lore so if they achieve a masterpiece on one thing visually, I am hoping this is it. If Balrogs represent the ultimate spiritual corruption of Morgoth's malice, then Dragons represent the ultimate manifestation of Morgoth's destructive desire and should physically be unrivaled. I hope they capture this and I don't think 2 or 4 legs would inhibit that objective.


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 4:33pm

Post #10 of 76 (890 views)
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Whaaaat? [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you mean he's "down to two legs?" I didn't see anything about that.

My favorite speech from the entire LOTR series: Sam:“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was after so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances at turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.” Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?” Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!”


QuackingTroll
Valinor


Oct 31 2013, 4:36pm

Post #11 of 76 (889 views)
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The bipedal dragon design was hinted at back when del Toro was designing [In reply to] Can't Post

del Toro talked about his frustration designing a dragon with four limbs and two wings because in reality no such creature exists. So I think even early stages they were playing around with Smaug's front limbs.

When early designs were described in another article, they mentioned tiny, t-rex like forearms and separate wings. All we've seen so far are silhouettes so it's possible these small front arms still remain.

Anyway, a lot of thought from a lot of people has gone into this one design, so even a detailed description wouldn't be enough to judge the final result, we have to see it for ourselves before we say what works and what doesn't.


(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Oct 31 2013, 4:43pm)


1415dr
The Shire

Oct 31 2013, 4:42pm

Post #12 of 76 (829 views)
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I'm sure it will look fantastic, [In reply to] Can't Post

but it won't look like Smaug. Deep down I know it's my own fault for having certain expectations, but if they mess up Smaug's design it's going to ruin the whole trilogy for me. I can't imagine him on two legs.

PJ changed my mind on a few things in AUJ, but I don't think I can adjust to Smaug as a wyvern. No matter how awesome Cumberbatch is.


chris10112
Bree

Oct 31 2013, 4:42pm

Post #13 of 76 (852 views)
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EE [In reply to] Can't Post

The Extended Edition changes the shot of Smaug trampling dwarven soldiers in Erebor - they're no longer front legs, and are now the claws on the end of his wings - making him more of a wyvern shape than a traditional dragon.


AncalagontheBlack
Rohan

Oct 31 2013, 4:49pm

Post #14 of 76 (846 views)
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GDT [In reply to] Can't Post

Could this be why GDT wasn't originally in the DoS credits and now is? Did his vision for Smaug end up being basically what we will see in DoS?


RosieLass
Valinor


Oct 31 2013, 4:57pm

Post #15 of 76 (852 views)
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Where is it written by Tolkien? [In reply to] Can't Post

The only "psychic" speech I know of is Gandalf and Elrond and Galadriel, and even then not to the extent that PJ portrayed in LOTR.

Smaug talked with his mouth. I'm glad they're keeping it that way.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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


RosieLass
Valinor


Oct 31 2013, 4:59pm

Post #16 of 76 (831 views)
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Awesome! Good news! [In reply to] Can't Post

Telepathic Smaug would have been horrible.

What's wrong with Scar from the Lion King, though?

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 5:12pm

Post #17 of 76 (818 views)
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Oh. Well that's interesting...Another *maybe spoiler* observation [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm waiting for the DVD to come out so I haven't seen the EE yet.

Now that I know about this, I did notice in that still from the second trailer http://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/dos246.jpg where you can see Smaug just before he spits fire at Bilbo that he seems to be using the claw on the end of his right wing (left side of the pic) almost like a hands to hold on to/lean on the structure nearby. Also, I would think if Smaug had front legs you'd be able to see them in that shot but you can't. You can't even see shoulders where front legs would attach. You can, however see where his back legs seem to attach to his body, so I think they've definitely gone with the two leg design. Perhaps Smaug will sort of walk on his wings like they are his front legs as well as use his wings as "hands". That could look kinda scary actually! I think it could work.

My favorite speech from the entire LOTR series: Sam:“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was after so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances at turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.” Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?” Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!”


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 5:17pm

Post #18 of 76 (759 views)
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Maybe just the similar voice. [In reply to] Can't Post

As I recall, Scar had a very deep, growly voice and a British accent, so they might have just been concerned that Smaug, having a growly voice and being voiced by a British man would sound too similar. I think they've succeeded in making him sound growly, without sounding like Scar though, so there's no need for them to have worried about it.

Squeeee! I can't wait to hear that voice in the theater!Heart Smile I think it's going to vibrate the floor!

My favorite speech from the entire LOTR series: Sam:“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was after so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances at turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.” Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?” Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!”


MouthofSauron
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 5:39pm

Post #19 of 76 (754 views)
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i think the spiders talking will be when Bilbo puts the ring on [In reply to] Can't Post

if they even speak...


take me down to the woodland realm where the trees are green and the elf women are pretty....Oh will you please take me home!!

(This post was edited by MouthofSauron on Oct 31 2013, 5:39pm)


haarp
Rivendell


Oct 31 2013, 5:47pm

Post #20 of 76 (705 views)
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6 [In reply to] Can't Post

The scene where Smaug is walking down the hallway once in Erebor he seems to be only walking on 2 legs


FoundEntwife
Rivendell


Oct 31 2013, 5:54pm

Post #21 of 76 (669 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

I never expected Smaug to speak psychically anyway so I'm glad they didn't go that route.

This tale grew in the telling. . .






http://pencilword.blogspot.com


FaramirAndEowynMorningStar
Rohan


Oct 31 2013, 5:57pm

Post #22 of 76 (703 views)
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I highly doubt it [In reply to] Can't Post

We never heard any of the creatures in LOTR talk. I do not think Peter would just throw in some talking animals (excluding Beorn [though, judging from the trailer, he only seems to speak Bear Tongue]).

....."Loyalty, Honor,
......A Willing Heart.
I can ask no more than that."

...... ~ Thorin Oakenshield


FaramirAndEowynMorningStar
Rohan


Oct 31 2013, 6:03pm

Post #23 of 76 (679 views)
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I think what they meant was that [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
You have to be careful you don't go too Scar from The Lion King, and Benedict was concerned that he didn't sound too pantomime.

Scar really puts on some of the lines he says, like the "Oh I feel simply awful!" and "Oh dear, I've said too much!"
Wink

As a side note~ Scar is one of my favourite Diseny villains.

....."Loyalty, Honor,
......A Willing Heart.
I can ask no more than that."

...... ~ Thorin Oakenshield


(This post was edited by FaramirAndEowynMorningStar on Oct 31 2013, 6:03pm)


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2013, 6:10pm

Post #24 of 76 (673 views)
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Yes, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...the trolls in LotR also didn't talk, but now they're talking in AUJ.

Actually, I kind of hope the spiders don't talk because I think it could break the intensity of the scene and possibly even take away from the darker tone that PJ wants DOS to develop.

My favorite speech from the entire LOTR series: Sam:“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was after so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances at turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.” Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?” Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!”


FaramirAndEowynMorningStar
Rohan


Oct 31 2013, 6:15pm

Post #25 of 76 (654 views)
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There was a point to that, though, was there not? [In reply to] Can't Post

In the book, nearly everyone remembers the talking trolls - and if they hadn't talked in the film then there would have been no point in even having them in [in the book they had a purpose because William had the keys to the troll hoard and Bilbo finds them - though, I prefer Peter's design of the hoard].

I do agree with you though, but I do not think he's considered the thought of the spiders talking. Wink

....."Loyalty, Honor,
......A Willing Heart.
I can ask no more than that."

...... ~ Thorin Oakenshield

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