Smaug mo-cap

We’re pretty familiar with the sight of good actors jumping and rolling about in mo-cap suits while doing performance capture work for effects-based films. We’re especially familiar with that image when it comes to Peter Jackson‘s Middle-Earth movies. And yet there’s something special about seeing Benedict Cumberbatch, whose on-screen presence radiates control and composure, crawling on his belly and fire-breathing dialogue for the worm Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. A few short featurettes about the creation of the dragon, and the Smaug mo-cap work, have gone online. They’re probably more fun than at least half the other stuff you could be watching. Check out a few below. Read More »

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Fox Searchlight Developing a J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic

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Warner Bros. is the lucky studio behind three Lord of Rings movies and another three Hobbit films, but Fox Searchlight will be the one who finally brings the genius behind those fantasy epics to the big screen. And no, I don’t mean Peter Jackson.

The studio has just set David Gleeson to script a biopic of author J.R.R. Tolkien, which for now is simply being called Tolkien. Peter Chernin (The Heat) will produce. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Dying to set foot in Middle-earth, but don’t have the cash to shell out for a ticket to New Zealand’s Hobbiton? If a new rumor is to be believed, Universal Studios could be planning a new Middle-earth theme park that’d presumably be much closer to home for American fans. According to an anonymous source, Universal and Warner Bros. have approached the Tolkien estate about the possibility of building a new attraction, and Universal has gotten as far as presenting its ideas to the Tolkiens. Read more after the jump.

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It’s a sad fact for geeks that there’s still no way to actually become a hobbit or a wizard. But thanks to two new spots, we can at least pretend for a little while.

The King’s Cross station in London has opened a new souvenir shop at Platform 9 3/4, which Harry Potter fans know is where Hogwarts students catch the train to school. Meanwhile, Hobbiton in New Zealand has transformed the Green Dragon Inn set into a working pub. Read more and check out some photos and video after the jump.

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It’s the kind of topic that keeps geeks arguing late into the night: Which is more badass, Westeros or Middle-earth? Would Jaime Lannister win in a duel against Aragorn? Are Wargs scarier than direwolves? Could Gimli take on the Mountain?

Sadly, the odds of us ever finding out for certain are slim to none, since there’s unlikely to be a crossover special anytime soon. But as the creator of Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire for you book nerds) and a longtime fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin seems as well equipped as anyone to offer some answers. Hit the jump to find out what he had to say.

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Just two weeks ago, the idea that Peter Jackson would split The Hobbit into three movies instead of two as originally planned seemed like wild, unfounded speculation. But then Jackson began floating the possibility at Comic-Con, negotiations with Warner Bros. picked up, and now Jackson has confirmed that it’s official: The Hobbit will be a trilogy.

The details are still being hammered out, so there’s a lot that even the folks involved aren’t sure of at this point. However, we do have an inkling of what the title and timetable might be. Jackson is reportedly eyeing a summer 2014 release date for the third movie, though an exact date has not been announced. As for the title, domain registrations suggest The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: Riddles in the Dark as potential names. Read more after the jump.

UPDATE: Jackson has taken to Facebook to post his own statement about the decision to split The Hobbit into three films, while the studio has issued a new press release. Read Jackson’s comment after the jump.

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Much in the way that Lionsgate teased out Hunger Games casting for weeks, steadily releasing small pieces of info over time, Warner Bros. seems to be revealing first looks at the characters from The Hobbit bit by little tiny bit. We’ve already gotten eyefuls of Dori, Nori & Ori, Oin and Gloin, and Fili and Kili. Today comes our first look at the dwarves Bofur, Bombur and Bifur, played by James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter and William Kircher, as they will appear in Peter Jackson‘s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Check out the full photo after the jump.

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You didn’t really think that the lawsuit between the Tolkien Estate and New Line was actually going to progress far enough to derail Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro’s Hobbit movies, did you? Regardless, it’s good to know that the two parties have come to some agreement, money will be exchanged and everyone can go forward to make even more money with the forthcoming films. Details follow. Read More »

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