Yes, you read that right, so stop rubbing your eyes and tell me – wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were him?

Despite a pretty solid ring of secrecy around the production, we know that Del Toro and team are deep into the development of their Hobbit movies. So far they’ve seemingly finished one screenplay and several creature designs, have hired Guillermo Navarro to shoot the film and have apparently come a long way in scheduling the production. On the showbizzier side of things, there’s been some casting information escape from their closed, but not a great deal, and aside from the as-expected return of Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkiss, the only juice we’ve had so announced far is a vague promise of something for Doug Jones in the movie. Nothing on the new roles at all, much less Bilbo himself.

After the break, the details of Del Toro’s beastly turn as well as more on his plans for Smaug, the Wargs, the Great Goblin and the rest of the monsters.

Speaking in an interview on German television, Del Toro said the creature he will play himself is “not an important one, just a background guy”. You can see the full interview, which is otherwise largely about Del Toro’s novel The Strain, at the bottom of the post.

These teasing comments were then discussed on the One Ring messageboards, where Del Toro stopped by to confirm the news. Here’s what he spilled:

I had a hand on the design of the creature and I will personally sculpt the appliances that will be applied on my face and hands. I used to sculpt the creatures for NECROPIA (my FX company) and I miss it a bit. I will have a line or two and die quickly.

So, Tolkienheads, tell me: any idea what kind of creature he might be playing? I’m guessing a Warg…?

Del Toro has discussed his overall vision for the monsters of the movie with Total Film. Here’s a choice quote or two:

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.

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.

Another rumour, also from The One Ring, is that the first six months of shooting on the film will take place in the studio, as opposed to out on location. If true, this probably has some foundation in practical concerns, but it might just be motivated by an attempt to keep as much as possible of the look and casting of the film under wraps for as long as possible. Are we in for a long, tantalising and slow tease of a reveal for this film?

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