Nothing says The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is near more like the onslaught of gazillions of new productions stills and the ever increasing booty of well done Photoshop generated character sheets.
The group cast sheets are somewhat of a mixed blessing, having the cast and characters in awkward poses and displays of bow and blade that come close to Freudian slips. In the latest cast/character sheet poor Bilbo gets a blade bigger than himself, pointing up from an unseen body part, with an expression on his face that would not be out of line in a Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac poster. And with the smoke swirling from Gandalf's pipe, the whole poster takes on the aura of a particularly unfortunate homo-erotic hash dream.
One of the great real-life ironies of The Hobbit Trilogy is that Martin Freeman gets to do something he would never do in his alternate role of Watson in the BBC's Sherlock: confront and fight Sherlock Holmes. As everyone knows, Benedict Cumberbatch voices the dragon Smaug whose desolation Freeman's Bilbo seeks. It's so wonderfully twisted-- as if Watson woke up in Middle Earth and found out that Holmes was really Moriarity and Watson was really Holmes and that battle of Reichenbach Falls hast hither come. The Hobbit's December 13th opening can't come fast enough and neither can Sherlock's season three American premier on PBS January 19th.
And if you thought that Gandalf might make a great older Sherlock Holmes, you would be right. Sir Ian McKellen will get to play a 74-year-old version of the venerable Consulting Detective in Bill Condon's (The Fifth Estate which also starred Benedict Cumberbatch, these real-life parallels get freakier by the moment) A Slight Trick of the Mind which has Holmes haunted by a 50 year old case all while he is losing his memory and great powers of deduction. No Watson in this one.
Luke Evans who plays Bard the Bowman, the leader of the defense of Laketown from the dragon Smaug, got the part almost a year and a half after his first audition. Evan's character's ancestry lines up with his own personal family history. Bard is a descendant of Lord Girion of Dale and Evan, in another weird but true twists of Hobbit cast history, hales from the Welsh town of Dale (population more or less 205 according to Wikipedia) located in Pembrokeshire, West Wales on the northern side of the Dale Peninsula.
Evans gets to speak in his native Welsh accent in the film.
"Because [the Bard is] an ancestor of Dale, I come from Dale, my ancestors are from Dale," says Evans, in an interview with HitFix.. "And so they made everybody who has ancestry of Dale Welsh. So now there's people in Lake-town who speak with a Welsh accent and you know that they have great-great-great-grandfathers or grandmothers that were actually from Dale. So all my children are Welsh in the film, I'm Welsh, and so Dale will always be Wales to me, which is a really nice thing."
Orlando Bloom was delighted to reprise his Legolas role from the LOTR films.
Playing a younger version of his character was easy. "This is going to be interesting to make the transition as an Elf being 10 years older as myself, as an actor, going in to playing a character that would be younger, but as Elves are kind of ageless anyway we've managed to bridge the gap," Bloom noted in an interview. "”It’s crazy, the wig fits. It still fits. It’s the same wig, and it still fits. And the costume, it fit. The same costume fit."
Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel never was really "Lost" in her role.
I was a bit of a Tolkien purist before Peter Jackson made the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy,” the actress said recently in a Los Angeles Times interview. “I was adamant that I wouldn’t see those films because there was no way that anybody was going to be able to re-create what I had imagined in my mind on the screen. I ended up being dragged to it for a big family Christmas thing and couldn’t believe how accurately he had portrayed everything that I’d ever imagined.”
Director Peter Jackson and writing partner Philippa Bowens created the character just for the movie, wanting to introduce more female energy to the overly male Hobbit storyline. “We’re not trying to create a warrior princess or a character that you might find for example — and in saying this, I’m not denigrating them — in a video game,” Boyens said. “This wasn’t about creating a character that didn’t feel truthful. She’s an elf of the world of Middle-earth," Boyens noted in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“She had to be a bit more gritty, a bit more passionate than what you’d seen before,” the actress said in her Los Angeles Times interview. “It was actually great to have that little bit of freedom to play with her and not have my performance from beginning to end be stoic and ethereal.”
Lee Pace who plays the Elvin King Thranduil, in an interview with F** Magazine, noted the similarities between Thranduil and the myth of the Fisher King.
"Milkwood used to be the Greenwood, but it's a corrupted forest, it's be come a very dangerous place, and it's also Thranduil's realm. The forest is very much a reflection of its king, just as the king is a reflection of his land. Like the Fisher King (a sovereign in Arthurian legend whose lands waste away when he suffers physical injuries)."
"One of the symbols I was very interested in was the Fisher King-- and the story of the Fisher King was that he was away in this paradise, this utopia that would vanish, and it's surrounded by a wasteland. It's a dangerous place; he's a dangerous king. "
Richard Armitage plays Thorin, the leader of the company of dwarves who aim to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. In an interview with F** Magazine, delves into the complicated motive that compel Thorin.
"The complex nature of the quest, for him, is it's personal and it's also for his people. He's leading his people back to their kingdom, he's also walking towards a single throne that he wants to sit on. He's also walking towards a huge treasure hoard, which pulls him in a way that is confusing and potentially corrupting. He's also walking towards this huge terror that has terrorized his people-- it's why they were exiled. So, as much as he's being drawn to the mountain, he's being repelled by the dragon. It's such a complicated thing when he opens that door and he breathes the air and he remembers his childhood, he remembers what happened. He can feel the gold inside the mountain, he can feel the potential for greatness. So that's here he is, really, in Movie Two. "
"I've never really seen him as a hero. I think he has heroicism in him. I think he has the skill and prowess to do it. I think he fights the urge in him to do things for himself. I think he is seeking a kind of altruism, but ultimately keeps getting drawn back into a very selfish path. And the closer he gets to the mountain and the gold, he becomes much more singular, he becomes much more isolated and blinkered. But he's been fighting that, and I think he's been fighting it from the beginning. That's probably why I wouldn't describe him as a hero, because he could succumb to that."
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