Cameras finally roll on 'The Hobbit'
Monday 21 March 2011
After years of wrangling and delays, Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson finally called "action" Monday on his latest Tolkien epic "The Hobbit".
The $500 million project, a two-part prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, began filming in New Zealand Monday, Hollywood studio Warner Bros. said.
"Production has commenced in Wellington," Warner Bros. said in a statement.
"The Hobbit" has been dogged by problems, prompting British actor Martin Freeman, who plays the title character Bilbo Baggins, to acknowledge last month that he had heard rumours it was jinxed.
Freeman, best known for his work in "The Office", will join "Cold Feet" actor James Nesbitt on the set, with Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Ian McKellan (Gandalf) and Elijah Wood (Frodo) reprising their "Lord of the Rings" roles.
The most serious threat to the movies erupted last October, when actors' unions slapped a global boycott on the production in a dispute over pay and conditions, prompting Jackson to look at shifting filming from New Zealand.
Warner Bros. finally agreed to keep the production in the country, which provided a stunning backdrop to the "Rings" movies, after the government changed employment laws and gave the studio millions of dollars in tax breaks.
Before that, the project was stalled for years amid rows over distribution rights, reported budget blowouts and financial woes at the MGM studio, prompting director Guillermo del Toro to quit last year.
It even became embroiled in a race row last November, when a casting agent was sacked for telling a woman with an Indian background that she was too dark to be a Hobbit.
Then, with Jackson confirmed as del Toro's replacement in the director's chair and cameras ready to roll, the New Zealander suffered a perforated ulcer and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, leading to more delays.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly