From Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield (played by Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.
Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo Baggins’ frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf (played by Ian McKellen), the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide: unite or be destroyed. Bilbo (played by Martin Freeman) finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.
At Comic-Con International 2014 in San Diego, Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert moderated a panel for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” On the panel were were Jackson, Orlando Bloom (who plays Legolas), Evangeline Lilly (who plays Tauriel), Cate Blanchett (who plays Galadriel), Luke Evans (who plays Bard the Bowman), Andy Serkis (who plays Gollum), Lee Pace (who plays Thranduil), Benedict Cumberbatch (who is the voice of Smaug), Elijah Wood (who plays Frodo Baggins) Graham McTavish (who plays Dwalin) and screenwriter Philippa Boyens. Here is what they said on the panel.
Is this the first time some of you have met at Comic-Con?
Cumberbatch: Some of us, yes.
Cumberbatch: We [Cate Blanchett] and I worked together and I didn’t meet Cate until well after I finished working with her.
Blanchett: It was great.
Did any of you have any complaints?
Cumberbatch: [He says jokingly] Yeah, she took ages to come out of her trailer. I kept eating snacks, and I was in your way all the time.
Peter, you started working these Tolkien adaptations around 1995, right?
Jackson: Yes, around 1995.
So by the year 2015, you would have spent 20 years in this world. Did you imagine that this would take a generation of your life?
Jackson: No. It’s a commitment, really. It’s a commitment I really enjoyed taking. You never know what’s going to happen next. The very first thing we pitched to Miramax in ’95 was “The Hobbit” as a single movie. And if it was successful, we’d do two “Lord of the Rings” movies. That was the pitch. Things went a bit differently, didn’t they?
We were going to shoot “The Hobbit” first as one movie. And if that was successful, we were going to do “The Lord of the Rings” back-to-back, two movies. That was the original pitch to Miramax. Everything changes. It’s organic.
It would be really boring if it was 20 years, and you had it all laid out, and you knew exactly what was going to happen, and you were just ticking the boxes. But it’s an adventure. Every step is an adventure.