Curse of 'The Hobbit' strikes again as actors threaten to walk off set

As any proper J R R Tolkein fan knows, it takes bravery, patience, and a little bit of luck to complete a journey to Middle Earth. Peter Jackson certainly boasts the first two, but judging by the fate of his long-running efforts to bring a film version of The Hobbit to the big screen, he's sadly lacking in the third.

Brighton Rock, Toronto Film Festival

It coasts along quite nicely

'Hobbit' movie in jeopardy as director Guillermo Del Toro quits

If you thought reading a JRR Tolkien novel was time-consuming, try turning one into a film. Two years and hundreds of painstakingly designed monster costumes after he started work on The Hobbit, the Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro has suddenly quit, complaining about endless delays in getting his eagerly-awaited film green-lit.

DVD: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (15)

"Our worst gig since Sidcup crematorium," is how Andy Serkis's Ian Dury attempts to warm up a particularly patchy crowd.

Party Of The Week: Clash of the Titans bash ushers in the summer season

Former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, who plays a spiritual guide in the 3D epic Clash of the Titans, was spectacularly busy on Monday night. After signing autographs on the red carpet for the film's world premiere in London, she dashed off to perform in her West End show, The Little Dog Laughed, at the Garrick Theatre down the road. She missed out on watching the film but returned in time for the after party, held at the chic restaurant and bar, Aqua London, housed in the former Dickens & Jones department store on Regent Street.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Mat Whitecross, 115 mins, (15)

Andy Serkis reveals many layers of Ian Dury's character in this compelling biopic of the late Blockheads frontman

Hit me with your rhythm shtick: How did Ian Dury become one of the most fascinating rock stars of the 1970s?

As a new film reminds us, he was a polio survivor from the suburbs and not much of a musician.

Story of the Scene: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

At the time, Andy Serkis thought he was going to New Zealand for three weeks of voiceover work on the follow up to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. ,/p>

Not long after his arrival he was on location, pioneering a completely new form of technology. The scene where Gollum catches fish in the Forbidden Pool is a favourite for YouTube mash-ups. The Forbidden Pool, he sings, is 'nice and cool'. Gollum cuts a disgusting figure, greyish, almost translucent skin, sibilant speech and a reptilian gate. This Gollum was thrust into being when Peter Jackson decided to use Serkis' own physicality to drive the character. Jackson's Weta Digital company used a motion-capture technique, and "subsurface scattering", to create Gollum's newt-like skin. Serkis modelled Gollum's voice on "a cat coughing up a hairball". His craving, wheedling manner was that of someone going through heroin withdrawal. The trip to the rock pool was a rare stint of onscreen acting for Serkis. At the pool Serkis, wearing virtually nothing, dipped in and out as his character tries to catch a fish. Nice and cool? No, absolutely freezing. A long way from the warm studios where Serkis had expected to be doing his voiceover work.

Litigation may threaten Hobbit films

New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson may have more in common with JRR Tolkien's heirs than he thought - they are also complaining about big studio accounting methods.

King Kong Theory, By Virginie Despentes

A bestseller in her native France, this memoir-come-treatise explains how Virginie Despentes came to write the controversial 1994 novel and 2000 film, Baise Moi.

King Kong Theory, By Virginie Despentes, trs Polly McLean

Virginie Despentes is best known for her controversial 1995 novel and 2000 film, Baise-Moi, about a prostitute and a rape victim who go on a killing spree. King Kong Theory is a free-ranging feminist manifesto that gives a little backdrop to that novel (Despentes's own ordeal being gang-raped, for instance) and details her other first-hand experiences of prostitution and pornography.

10,000 BC, 12A<br/>The Cottage, 18

Charging mammoths and creeping ice caps &ndash; those were the days

The Cottage (18)

Whatever else befalls it, Paul Andrew Williams' second feature will not win the critical adulation of his first, the magnificent, bleak London to Brighton.

Tolkiens threaten to halt 'Rings' films in row over takings

The epic legal battles over profits from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy long ago eclipsed anything raging on Middle Earth, but New Line Cinema, the films' producer, has just got sight of its most formidable foe to date: the family of J R R Tolkien himself.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there