Monday, July 07, 2008

Guillermo del Toro Talks Hobbit

For a long time, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy—or, more accurately, Peter Jackson's film adaptation—were full of speculation as to whether the trilogy's precursor, The Hobbit, would ever come to the big screen; then, after the film was announced, over who would direct it. Now that Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro has officially signed on for the project—reportedly to be filmed as two separate movies—speculation shifts to exactly what the films will look like compared to Tolkien's vision, and Jackson's standard-setting trilogy.

Del Toro joins in the speculation himself in a new Q&A with Middle-Earth fans, posted at the MTV Movies Blog. Of particular interest to Christian moviegoers is a question about whether del Toro will be "exploring any theological or spiritual themes" in the films. Del Toro answered: "I believe The Hobbit is a narrative that contains characters that are very symbolic of certain human traits. Obviously, pride and greed are easily found in Smaug the Dragon. Then the humble, sort of a sturdy moral fiber that Bilbo has very much represents the idea that Tolkien had about the little English man, the average English man. The dwarves represent other qualities, the elves represent other qualities and, like, in any fairy tale or fantasy narrative that is worth it, all these characters conform to a view of the world that is spiritual, ethical and moral. I think that this morality, this spiritual tale, will play a [large] part in the movie."

The director also notes the enthusiasm he has for working with actors Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and Orlando Bloom—though he can't say anything for sure at this point. He also notes his desire to make Ian Holm—who played Bilbo Baggins in the trilogy—to be involved with the new films in some capacity.

In an interview with The Defamer, however, del Toro makes clear that there will not be two Hobbit films unless a substantial story can be devised to bridge Tolkien's novel with the Lord of the Rings storyline. Says del Toro, "we believe there is a second movie … if we find it, we will shoot it."

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