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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Anyone worried about a "non-fan" directing the hobbit?

Avner
The Shire

Dec 24 2007, 8:36am

Post #1 of 16 (536 views)
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Anyone worried about a "non-fan" directing the hobbit? Can't Post

...when you think about it,peter jackson changed quite a few things in the trilogy -and he's a fan! (some good/some bad) So imagine what a non-fan might do if they direct the hobbit.

What do you guys think?


irodino
Bree

Dec 24 2007, 1:08pm

Post #2 of 16 (324 views)
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Indeed, it worries me [In reply to] Can't Post

First of all, hi everybody ^^ My first post on this new board. I have been reading the old ones for many years, though rarely participating Tongue
But enough of me Tongue

I was just reading about the possibility that del Toro or Sam Raimi might direct, and was really struck by the flash of an idea
what amazing atmosphere and darkness the former could bring, while being kept in the borders of PJ's vision, but then
he says himself he only read the Hobbit, and could not swallow LOTR... how can he then create the illusion of depth that
made PJ's movies so great? If he didnt read LOTR and Silmarillion he will not be able to make a coherent background,
and Hobbit might seem like a fairy tale outside Middle-Earth, though with familiar names and places.

I mean if a non fan directs, what will keep him from making such barely avoided blunders like Aragorn fighting Sauron head-on
at the Black Gates? Or worse? It's really a marvel how many times PJ *almost* made critical mistakes, yet somehow avoided them,
because he KNEW a little of the backstory. Wink Some changes are necessary, some changes are acceptable, but one has to understand
the whole structure before changing a pillar.

I'm still keen to watch a del Toro Hobbit but will he finish reading all of Tolkiens books before the shooting? Unsure

I'm not sure about Sam Raimi.. is he a fan?


GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


Dec 24 2007, 1:29pm

Post #3 of 16 (297 views)
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*yawn* Not really. [In reply to] Can't Post

Look, there's some terrible fan fiction out there by people who loved LOTR (or Trek or HP or whatever story they were inspired by). On the other side of the coin, there are great movies out there by directors who never read the story they were going to film till someone gave them the script to consider. So there's not necessarily a correlation between how good a film will be and what an artist has enjoyed in the past. A good director will be professional and do a good job so I don't worry much about it.

~~~~~~~~

Formerly known as GaladrielTX


Elizabeth
Valinor


Dec 24 2007, 3:35pm

Post #4 of 16 (303 views)
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Raimi is definitely a fan, [In reply to] Can't Post

both of Tolkien and of Jackson's work in LotR. He's far and away my choice if Peter or Fran can't do it.




Son of Elizabeth in Frodo's tree
March, 2007


Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


CAhobbit
Rohan


Dec 24 2007, 5:40pm

Post #5 of 16 (312 views)
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Everything is Illuminated... [In reply to] Can't Post

is one film I can think of that was done by someone that didn't even read the book and still created a pretty good film (granted there was one huge chunk of the story and little bits here and there left out of the film). So I think it's possible to be a non-fan and still direct a film successfully. The two directors that have been thrown around (Del Toro and Raimi) of course are fans so neither of them scare me.

Do not meddle in the affairs of hobbits for we can bite your kneecaps off!



CAhobbit's flickr page

CAhobbit's myspace


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 24 2007, 6:59pm

Post #6 of 16 (297 views)
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Just the opposite. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm worried that a "Real Fan" is going to to make a horrible movie. It'll be like a personal photo album with all his favorite moments. And we know how boring other people's photo albums can be. ("Baby's Sixth Month, Volume 8".) The test of a great director is the ability to cut his favorite scene to make a better picture. (I note Jackson cut his favorite scene in each of the LOTR movies.).

I'd prefer a competent non-fan who focuses on telling a good story. Otherwise you'll get stuff like "Battlefield Earth", "Alexander", and "Heaven's Gate" where the fimmaker had so much passion for his work that he forgot to make it comprehensible, much less entertaining.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



squire
Valinor


Dec 24 2007, 7:59pm

Post #7 of 16 (252 views)
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Excellent point // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 24 2007, 8:25pm

Post #8 of 16 (291 views)
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Welcome. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
If he didnt read LOTR and The Silmarillion, he will not be able to make a coherent background, and The Hobbit might seem like a fairy tale set outside Middle-earth, though with familiar names and places.


And that is exactly what The Hobbit was when Tolkien wrote it, a tale with some names and places taken from Tolkien's existing legendarium, but not set in Middle-earth -- because Middle-earth didn't exist yet.


Quote
I mean if a non fan directs, what will keep him from making such barely-avoided blunders like Aragorn fighting Sauron head-on at the Black Gates?


Or Aragorn beheading Sauron's messenger? Er, never mind.


Quote
I'm still keen to watch a del Toro Hobbit, but will he finish reading all of Tolkiens books before the shooting?


Peter Jackson certainly hadn't read all of Tolkien's books: in a 2004 interview, he admitted to never having encountered Tolkien's word "eucatastrophe".

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

We're on hiatus Dec. 24-Jan. 6 for the holidays.
Join us Jan. 7-13 for "Strider".


Woodyend
Gondor


Dec 24 2007, 10:16pm

Post #9 of 16 (328 views)
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I thought that after he saw the Ralph Bakshi film he then read all the books. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Peter Jackson certainly hadn't read all of Tolkien's books: in a 2004 interview, he admitted to never having encountered Tolkien's word "eucatastrophe".


He was about 17 at that time. He assumed someone would eventually make a movie of the books. I'm not sure if he thought about making them himself though, at that time.

He got that idea after one of the movies he made (I can't remember which one) used this great software to make ghosts. He said, he thought to himself, what hasn't been made yet, because the technology to make it wasn't there. Well duh LOTR. That was when he and Fran starting writing the screenplay.


May your beer be laid under an enchantment of surpassing excellence for seven years!
~~~~~~~~Gandalf~~~~~~~
Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!


Elizabeth
Valinor


Dec 24 2007, 10:39pm

Post #10 of 16 (256 views)
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Where does "eucatastrophe" appear [In reply to] Can't Post

...except in Letters or similar meta-documents? I don't recall seeing it in The Hobbit or LotR (which have them, but I don't think use the word)? For that matter, is it in the Sil? (which doesn't even have many, mostly the plain, unmodified kind of catastrophe).

(Knowing you, you can probably give not only the chapter but line number, but still...)




Son of Elizabeth in Frodo's tree
March, 2007


Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 24 2007, 11:05pm

Post #11 of 16 (247 views)
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"On Faerie Stories" [In reply to] Can't Post

The first popular publication is in Ballantine's The Tolkien Reader in 1966. Previously it was just delivered as a lecture. Though in 1947 it was published as a selection in a very limited edition memorial to Charles Williams.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Elizabeth
Valinor


Dec 24 2007, 11:28pm

Post #12 of 16 (250 views)
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Ok.... [In reply to] Can't Post

So, Jackson could perfectly well have read "Tolkien's books" and be excused for not knowing this word, yes? Of course, if he's spent any time in the Reading Room, he'd have picked it right up ;-)




Son of Elizabeth in Frodo's tree
March, 2007


Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 25 2007, 12:07am

Post #13 of 16 (239 views)
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Yeah, but.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Mortensen read as much of Tolkien, secondary sources about Tolkien, and Tolkien's own primary sources as he could. One might assume Viggo would have clued him in in one of those nine pages of actor's notes that Mortensen faxed Jackson every night for 15 months.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Sunflower
Valinor

Dec 25 2007, 2:59am

Post #14 of 16 (241 views)
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Interesting. [In reply to] Can't Post

IMO, it depends on the type of film you are making.

Otherwise there are valid arguments both for and against.

On the one hand, in the "non-fan" camp, you take something like "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan", directed by Nicholas Meyer. He personally didn't give two toodles about Star Trek, other than watching a couple re-runs when a high schooler. He was no fan. Yet he ended up helming what most Trek Fans still regard as the 2 best films of the ST series (the other being his ST6, "The Undiscovered Country.") "Khan is, you may recall, the one where Spock "dies".(one of the great death scenes in American cinema.) You listen to his DVD commentary and you find it hard to believe he wasn't a fan. The film opens with a close-up of Spock's side profile, "b/c that's what Star Trek always was to me: Spock's pointy ear." When you get to the death scene he talks at length about being dry-eyed when the entire crew is in tears and even the camera guy is jamming his fist into his mouth to stop from wailing out loud. I read later that Meyer directed that scene before going out on a date that evening, and not only was he all dolled up to go out, but he directed the death scene from a 10-foot high stepladder with a bullhorn. Not exactly very reverential for the material, and even in the those days before the Net, word got around and he caught hell for it, and not just from the fans. Even some people in the Paramount brass were concerned. This lasted, of course, until the film came out. As he says: "The trick isn't to kill him, but to kill him well." You can imagine fan reaction when word got around that Spock was to be killed off in ST2. But after the film, the fans forgave him, saying that if he had to go, he could not have taken a more fitting and noble way out. And then, of course, Leanord Nimoy changed his mind about having no more story value, and ended directing the next 2 films.
As Meyer said, in the first place, it was his cool-headedness that allowed him to do the death scene without being affected by it; and he said, the material grew on me.

On the other, you have those who are fans and yet are bound by too great a love for the material and a desire to put in all the wrong things. Which may look good on paper but do not translate well to film. You make a good point, Brigand, but the problem is, this attitude might be the correct one IF the Trilogy on film did not already exist. IMO, you can't treat it as if it wasn't there. Even if you are being dropped slowly in the new land of ME, this willed "ignorance": might come back to haunt and impede the viewer. The trick is, if you are going to preserve this state of ignorance in the first Hobbit film, how do you go about "finding" the place later on. The viewer has to be made to feel that they just happened into a place that is not in the process of becoming, but fully realized. It is perhaps the bane of film, and one of its weaknesses as an art form compared to literature. There's always something already fully in place.
The danger is, if you do not explain anything, the whole thing can look ridiculous. The trick is the skill with which the viewer is led in.

This was the genius of "Star Wars": with just a chance quote or two Lucas dropped us into a totally alien but fully realized universe, yet gave hints of something much deeper. Yes, maybe SW is the cinematic role model for this. "Ben's conversation with Luke in his home was the real introduction to his universe, and it left us thirsting for more. "A thousand generations ago...." etc. All it took was one spellbinding conversation, a few legendarily acted lines.

Somewhere else I mentioned that there was no perfect choice for this, that Del Toro and Raimi each had their own weaknesses. Both have obstacles to overcome. My instincts in this case would be to go with the Tolkien geek...at least intitially. It all comes down to studio control.


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Dec 25 2007, 3:09am)


Avner
The Shire

Dec 25 2007, 9:09am

Post #15 of 16 (271 views)
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Cheers [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
IMO, it depends on the type of film you are making.

Otherwise there are valid arguments both for and against.

On the one hand, in the "non-fan" camp, you take something like "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan", directed by Nicholas Meyer. He personally didn't give two toodles about Star Trek, other than watching a couple re-runs when a high schooler. He was no fan. Yet he ended up helming what most Trek Fans still regard as the 2 best films of the ST series (the other being his ST6, "The Undiscovered Country.") "Khan is, you may recall, the one where Spock "dies".(one of the great death scenes in American cinema.) You listen to his DVD commentary and you find it hard to believe he wasn't a fan. The film opens with a close-up of Spock's side profile, "b/c that's what Star Trek always was to me: Spock's pointy ear." When you get to the death scene he talks at length about being dry-eyed when the entire crew is in tears and even the camera guy is jamming his fist into his mouth to stop from wailing out loud. I read later that Meyer directed that scene before going out on a date that evening, and not only was he all dolled up to go out, but he directed the death scene from a 10-foot high stepladder with a bullhorn. Not exactly very reverential for the material, and even in the those days before the Net, word got around and he caught hell for it, and not just from the fans. Even some people in the Paramount brass were concerned. This lasted, of course, until the film came out. As he says: "The trick isn't to kill him, but to kill him well." You can imagine fan reaction when word got around that Spock was to be killed off in ST2. But after the film, the fans forgave him, saying that if he had to go, he could not have taken a more fitting and noble way out. And then, of course, Leanord Nimoy changed his mind about having no more story value, and ended directing the next 2 films.
As Meyer said, in the first place, it was his cool-headedness that allowed him to do the death scene without being affected by it; and he said, the material grew on me.

On the other, you have those who are fans and yet are bound by too great a love for the material and a desire to put in all the wrong things. Which may look good on paper but do not translate well to film. You make a good point, Brigand, but the problem is, this attitude might be the correct one IF the Trilogy on film did not already exist. IMO, you can't treat it as if it wasn't there. Even if you are being dropped slowly in the new land of ME, this willed "ignorance": might come back to haunt and impede the viewer. The trick is, if you are going to preserve this state of ignorance in the first Hobbit film, how do you go about "finding" the place later on. The viewer has to be made to feel that they just happened into a place that is not in the process of becoming, but fully realized. It is perhaps the bane of film, and one of its weaknesses as an art form compared to literature. There's always something already fully in place.
The danger is, if you do not explain anything, the whole thing can look ridiculous. The trick is the skill with which the viewer is led in.

This was the genius of "Star Wars": with just a chance quote or two Lucas dropped us into a totally alien but fully realized universe, yet gave hints of something much deeper. Yes, maybe SW is the cinematic role model for this. "Ben's conversation with Luke in his home was the real introduction to his universe, and it left us thirsting for more. "A thousand generations ago...." etc. All it took was one spellbinding conversation, a few legendarily acted lines.

Somewhere else I mentioned that there was no perfect choice for this, that Del Toro and Raimi each had their own weaknesses. Both have obstacles to overcome. My instincts in this case would be to go with the Tolkien geek...at least intitially. It all comes down to studio control.


That was a really good read -and you made some very interesting points!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 25 2007, 3:30pm

Post #16 of 16 (241 views)
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That ghost movie was The Frighteners. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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.


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