Pictured above: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Bifur (William Kircher) and Nori (Jed Brophy) ©2012 Warner Bros
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey takes place 60 years before The Lord of the Rings.
The adventure follows the journey of a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who must reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom. He is accompanied by 13 Dwarves, led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage).
Martin and Richard spoke about the journey to Middle-earth at the press day for The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey in New York.
How big a fan were you of The Lord of the Rings books and movies?
Martin: I thought the Lord of the Rings movies were fantastic. I didn’t grow up as a Tolkien (fan) really. I read Tolkien in the run up to this, so my experience of Middle- earth was via the films, which I think are still great pieces of work.
From my point-of-view, turning up and being involved with it, it was a pleasure to be with Pete, and to be with a crew that committed, to get to know actors who I knew a little bit from home, but not very well, who have subsequently became friends, and meet other people I’ve never met whose work I liked.
It was great. It had a way of not being intimidating, which was lovely.
What was it like creating the Fellowship again with new people?
Richard: We arrived together at the beginning of 2011 and we went straight into a training program, all the dwarves together. Martin joined as well even though he wasn’t a dwarf.
So there was a bonding experience that became extended because there was a delay in filming, so that process really formed our group.
In terms of coming into an existing franchise, we were always made to feel very welcomed, like we were coming into a family. So many people returned that were working on the Rings trilogy, it was just very easy.
Can you tell us about the first day when you saw yourselves in your full make up?
Richard: The first time I was turned into a dwarf was quite shocking. I remember they did a time-lapse photography of the process and it took something in the region of four and a half hours.
I kept my eyes closed for all of it, because I didn’t want to see how it worked, and then just opened them at the end and it’s very strange when you don’t recognize yourself.
Martin: It was sort of gradual, because Bilbo went through a few phases.
There were a couple of noses for Bilbo, and then it was decided that my nose was weird enough.
The wig slightly changed, the color changed, so it went from a more middle-aged rocker to being what Bilbo looks like now.
What did you learn about yourselves making The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey?
Richard: Working with Peter, the thing that I realized is that just when you think you’ve given everything you’ve got, he asks you for more and somehow you find it.
It’s like I had to drop my own limitations of myself, because there’s always more to give.
Martin: I’m not quite sure yet what I learned about myself. When you are at drama school the teacher says to you, ‘This might not make sense to you now, but a penny will drop in seven years.’ Later you’ll go, ‘Oh, that’s what you were talking about.’ I don’t think it has fully dropped for me yet.
Richard and Martin were asked what they personally took from this story about humanity. Click below to listen to their replies
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