Director Guillermo del Toro has explained how he intends to bring an original look to the creatures and battles of his two-part adaptation of "The Hobbit."
The first part of the $300 million project comes out in December 2011 and the second a year after that. "Lord of the Rings" filmmaker Peter Jackson is serving as executive producer to help ensure a close match with that series of movies.
In a new interview, Del Toro talks in detail about the epic project, which has so far had a year of design work and months of story planning and writing.
He told Total Film: "We are respecting the structure established by Tolkien because the order of the adventures in 'The Hobbit' is well known to generations and generations of kids. You don't want to be moving stuff like that.
"But we will be integrating Gandalf's comings and goings because he does disappear in the book quite often. So, as opposed to the book, we see where he goes and what happens to him."
On the various creatures in the story, he said: "I said we would keep the DNA in the same gene pool as the 'Rings' trilogy, but that we would generate a different type of character. For example, in the trilogy most of the creatures are brutish or inarticulate.
"In 'The Hobbit,' the creatures speak: Smaug has beautiful lines of dialogue; the Great Goblin has beautiful lines of dialogue; many creatures do. So we had to design them with a different approach because you are not just designing things that are scary.
"I also wanted some of the monsters in 'The Hobbit' to be majestic. I wanted the Wargs to have a certain beauty so that you don't have a massively clear definition: what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is not. Some of the monsters are absolutely gorgeous."
He added: "I think one of the designs I'm the proudest of is Smaug. Obviously he took the longest. It's actually still active: we're finishing his colour palette and a little bit of the texture. But the bulk of the design took about a year, solid. It's because of the unique features of the dragon.
"Early in production I came up with a very strong idea that would separate Smaug from every other dragon ever made. The problem was implementing that idea. But I think we've nailed it."
And on the giant spiders: "They are visually quite striking and in a different way to Shelob. I wish I could tell you more but I would be spoiling it again.
"They are very different. They are more creatures of the shadow, more creatures of the deep forest. They are not earth nesting. They are nesting in the canopies so physically they have adapted to that environment."
On the battles: "There were so many battles in the trilogy. So one of the first things is how do we make the battles or the action in 'The Hobbit' feel different from that?
"Because it was fresh when the trilogy came out, to see those enormous valleys or fortresses being invaded by warriors.
"But then after the trilogy you had 'Troy,' 'Narnia,' everything. It has become quite common seeing two massive CG armies attacking each other. So we came up with a good solution, I think. It will make the battles stand out."
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Source: The Geek Files