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By: Noelle Beauregard, Marilyn.ca
Since the blockbuster debut of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, fans all over the world have been anticipating film maker Peter Jackson’s take on its prequel, ‘The Hobbit.’ The release date has been announced and the wait is over. Fan can venture out to theaters December, 14, 2012, to see 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' part one of three installments.
As a whole the three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ The film follows the journey of title character, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who finds himself on an adventure of a life time when he joins 13 Dwarves, including the legendary warrior Thorin Oakensheild (Richard Armitage), the leader of the Dwarves. Their mission: to rescue the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the frightening Dragon Smaug.
After ‘The Lord of the Ring’ trilogy was completed, director Peter Jackson never imaged returning to Middle-earth again.
“When we made ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ I was absolutely sure it was going to be an once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Jackson once commented. “It was an amazing and very special time, but when it was over, none of us believed that we’d ever be venturing into Middle-earth again. However, the experience of making ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy became equally special to all of us. So now I have had an once-in-a-lifetime experience twice-in-a-lifetime.”
However, for many new faces involved in this film, like Richard Armitage, the leader of the Dwarves, this was their once-in-lifetime opportunity to explore Middle-earth. It was also his first time visiting Canada when he sat down with Marilyn to chat about his role in the film.
“The guy from immigration said hello like I was a human being, so I am very impressed,” says Armitage, when asked what he thought about our lovely nation.
Like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was filmed in New Zealand, where Armitage grew his own beard for the majority of filming his role. “Well, I started with a fake beard and then we had a break because Pete wasn’t well for a while. I actually realized I had time to grow something very similar.” This surprised him, describing as “serendipitous.”
During this unexpected break Armitage stayed in New Zealand to continue his ‘Dwarf Training.’ “We learned how to run and to sort of fight, Terry (the trainer) got us to wear these white belts so our centre of gravity was lower because Peter wanted us to feel like warriors rather than diminutive people” describes Armitage.
Armitage is six-foot-two, a man too tall to play a Dwarf, even a tall Dwarf, “I couldn’t quite work out why I was there,” recalls Armitage. However, Jackson believed that Armitage possessed the qualities of strength and authority; qualities he wanted his actor to possess to embody such a regal figure as Thorin.
“But in terms of getting smaller, we actually get bigger to get smaller. We have massive boots and a bigampousle suit, prosthetics and them Peter works his magic on the computer,” Armitage tells Marilyn. “He (Peter Jackson) really is a Genius.”