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Tag: Peter Jackson (21-30 of 34)

'The Hobbit' will shoot in New Zealand after all. Well, maybe. Hopefully. We'll see.

Peter-Jackson-GandalfImage Credit: Sylvain Gaboury/PR PhotosSome day, someone is going to make a movie about the attempt to make a movie based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, but instead of wizards and swordplay and stirring derring-do, it’ll be filled with lawyers and picket signs and angry e-mails. Today alone, director Peter Jackson and producing-and-life partner Fran Walsh reportedly issued a blistering statement condemning the local New Zealand actors’ union, NZ Actors’ Equity, which last month had called on fellow international actors unions (including SAG) to boycott The Hobbit to pressure the production for a new contract for local actors. Jackson and Walsh called the union leadership “gutless” and “self-centered,” and noted ominously that next week execs from Warner Bros. “are coming down to NZ to make arrangements to move the production off-shore.”

Within hours of that statement, NZ Actors’ Equity, along with the larger Screen Production and Development Association, issued their own statement announcing that they would not boycott The Hobbit, and they were imploring all other actors unions to follow suit.

Which would be great news, if the first line of Jackson and Walsh’s earlier statement did not start with this declaration: “The lifting of the blacklist [i.e. boycott] on The Hobbit does nothing to help the films stay in New Zealand.”


'The Hobbit' in 3-D: Good idea? Or terrible idea?

Peter-JacksonImage Credit: Fotonoticias/WireImage.comWe all knew that The Hobbit was going to be made eventually. Destiny (and the promise of money bins filled with box-office cash) demanded it. But the long-expected news that Peter Jackson will direct the Hobbit duology comes with a new wrinkle: The films will be shot in 3-D. This would be incredible news … if we had heard it nine months ago, when Avatar was still in theaters. But barely a year post-Na’vi, 3-D has been applied to seemingly every new blockbuster film with incredibly mixed results. So it’s worth asking: Will 3-D ruin The Hobbit for you?

Since the movies will actually be shot in the 3-D format, they’re already one step up from the mediocre post-production conversions seen in Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, and Piranha 3D. Also, Peter Jackson is a brilliant filmmaker. (Sure, sure, Lovely Bones, but nobody’s perfect.) And Jackson’s Middle-Earth is such a lush, rich onscreen universe. You could argue that this is exactly the sort of film 3-D was created for.

You could also argue that 3-D was created for one thing: a justification for increased ticket prices. Speaking as someone who just paid $15 for one ticket to Jackass 3D, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be willing to fork over huge wads of cash in return for murky visuals and a migraine headache. I’m still excited about upcoming 3-D bonanzas like Tron Legacy, but am I the only one who’s actually more excited about the next Harry Potter now that it’s back in old-fashioned 2-D? Vote and be counted, after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Guillermo del Toro really loves 'The Haunted Mansion' and really wants 'The Hobbit' to get made

Guillermo-del-ToroImage Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesAt Comic-Con last week, Guillermo del Toro announced he will produce, co-write, and possibly direct a new feature film based on the Disneyland attraction The Haunted Mansion. But that is just the latest meal stacked high on top of the filmmaker’s already crowded plate: He’s also working on feature films of (deep inhale) Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Slaughterhouse Five, Drood, and At the Mountains of Madness, as well as the vampire literary trilogy he’s co-writing with Chuck Hogan The Strain. (Deep exhale.)

With all those projects now happily humming along, perhaps it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that Del Toro dropped out of directing The Hobbit in May. Last week at Comic-Con, Del Toro sat down with me and gamely talked about his reasons for leaving that most high profile of projects, as well as his abiding obsession with the Haunted Mansion, and the status of the rest of his coterie of cinema undertakings — including whether we’ll ever get to see Hellboy III. Check it out after the jump: READ FULL STORY

Comic-Con: Got a question for [big time celeb]? Tweet it to us!

Comic-con-Peter-JacksonOf the many wondrous things about San Diego Comic-Con — imaginative costumes, drool-inducing glimpses at upcoming movies and TV shows, swag — one of the absolute best begins thusly: “Okay, let’s open it up to questions.” Rarely do fans get such a direct opportunity to interrogate their pop-culture idols, and for those of you who won’t be able to make it to San Diego this week, EW is doing the next best thing.

Both myself and the illustrious Michael Ausiello will be on hand to talk to the cavalcade of famous faces visiting the EW photo studio and video suite at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, and this year, we’re asking you — yes, you! — to tweet us your questions for those actors and directors. So if you want to get in on all the Comic-Con action, follow EW on Twitter (our highly imaginative handle is @EW), and starting tomorrow, I’ll be soliciting tweeted questions for the movies guests of that day. (Mr. Ausiello will be handling questions for TV stars via @michaelausiello.) Be sure to include the hashtag #comicconew, so we can see your questions!

To get an idea of what goes on at our EW video suite, after the jump, check out my three-part interview last year with Peter Jackson about several of his upcoming projects. I should stress that this interview was last year — Guillermo Del Toro was still a year away from dropping out of directing The Hobbit, so Jackson’s answers about that project are during far happier times.  READ FULL STORY

'King Kong 360 3-D': On the scene of Universal Studios' newest ride

King-Kong-3dIt think it was the giant 3-D spider that put me over the top.

On Tuesday, I joined a small gaggle of invited press and VIPs at the official unveiling of Universal Studios Hollywood’s King Kong 360 3-D, the replacement for the old, animatronic studio tour Kong attraction, which was decimated in a fire two years ago. The brainchild of director Peter Jackson, the new Kong experience unfolds on two massive parabolic 3-D screens that wrap around either side of the Universal Studios Tour tram cars, inside a custom-built soundstage. Before you enter, Jackson appears on the TVs mounted inside each of the tram cars and tells you to put on your 3-D glasses (which you hopefully haven’t dropped somewhere along the line of the studio tour up until that point). Then your tour guide rolls the tram cars inside, and after plunging into eerie almost-total darkness, the screens suddenly light up, and boom, you’re back on Skull Island — i.e. the Skull Island from Jackson’s 2005 King Kong. READ FULL STORY

Peter Jackson may direct 'The Hobbit'? Now we’re Tolkien!

Peter-JacksonImage Credit: Don Arnold/WireImage.comLet’s face it, Guillermo del Toro was a perfect choice to direct The Hobbit. Boundlessly creative and visually distinctive, del Toro would have been able to give the Lord of the Rings prequel a different tone from the epic triptych, while remaining true to its spirit. But it was just not to be. He left the project two years into a five-year sentence, and the best thing for us to do was to move on and not cry over spilt mead. And now, news that producer Peter Jackson is in negotiations to return to Middle Earth and direct the two-part film himself makes me think there’s no reason to cry after all.

When they say that he’s “in talks,” I can really only picture Jackson alone in a conference room, occasionally switching chairs, an argument brewing between his director-self and producer-self over remuneration and percentage of profits. Personally, I hope the two of them come to an agreement soon, because it would absolutely be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Producer Jackson gets one of the best fantasy directors around, one not only with an intimate knowledge of the LOTR universe but also of this particular production, and Director Jackson gets a chance to return to his Academy Award-sweeping roots after the hiccup that was The Lovely Bones. Everybody wins.

Including the audience. With Jackson replacing del Toro, and not some unknown interloper, we at least have a sense of what to expect. There’s no slinking fear that the final product might end up something like this. The real question is how much of del Toro’s two years of design and pre-production work Jackson will incorporate into his Hobbit, should he take the job. It would be fascinating to see a melding of these two different styles of fantasy film-making: Del Toro’s bulbous, inventive menagerie inhabiting Jackson’s epic, sweeping vistas.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Excited at the prospect of Jackson retaking the reins? Is there anyone out there who actually thinks that this isn’t great news?

King Kong charges into Universal Studios -- in 3-D! -- in this exclusive first look

kong-dino-tramWhen an accidental fire torched a large section of the famed Universal Studios backlot in 2008, the giant animatronic King Kong that had terrorized countless visitors on the famed studio tram tour in Los Angeles was one of the most high-profile burn victims. But with the old-school jumbo gorilla reduced to a charred hunk of plaster and metal, director Peter Jackson lept at the opportunity to re-make the King Kong attraction in the image of his 2005 behemoth movie remake, replete with as much state-of-the-art technology as possible.

The result is King Kong 360 3-D, opening at Universal Studios Hollywood July 1. READ FULL STORY

'Hobbit': Del Toro's explanation just leaves us with more questions

deltoroImage Credit: Nick Wall/WireImage.comA week after Guillermo Del Toro’s announcement that he was stepping down from directing The Hobbit, the filmmaker has returned to Lord of the Rings fansite TheOneRing.net to provide a longer explanation for why he left the crazy-high-anticipated project. The problem is that his explanation leaned more on you-gotta-read-between-the-lines vagueness than here’s-what’s-going-down specifics, and like the finale of Lost, it’s left me with as many questions as satisfying answers.

“I’ve developed films for years and I have shot many a movie on location,” Del Toro posted to TheOneRing’s message boards yesterday, “but rarely do you relocate for such a massive amount of time, especially when you have to do major ironclad agreements to put in deep freeze other contractual obligations with multiple studios….So — while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity — you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this…leaving [New Zealand] and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.”

While it’s clear that Del Toro became frustrated with having to put all of his other projects “in deep freeze” while working on The Hobbit, I’m left to wonder when he realized that was going to be a problem. READ FULL STORY

Why Guillermo del Toro left 'The Hobbit' -- and Peter Jackson will not replace him as director

Jackson-Hobbit_320.jpg Image Credit: Barry King/FilmMagic.com; Kristian Dowling/WireImage.comOver the last four years, there has scarcely been another project in Hollywood that has been more highly anticipated — and has weathered more back-room corporate wrangling — than The Hobbit. So when filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) announced today that he was dropping out of directing the two films planned for J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary preamble to The Lord of the Rings, the news served as both a shock to fans and yet another possible casualty in the sad ongoing saga of MGM Studios.

As Del Toro (pictured, right) and The Hobbit producer Peter Jackson (pictured, left) explained to LOTR fansite TheOneRing.net, the two Hobbit films are still slated for release in Dec. 2012 and Dec. 2013. And Del Toro is still collaborating on the screenplay with Jackson and his LOTR co-screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. But why did Del Toro walk away from one of the most highly coveted director’s chairs in modern cinema? And who could possibly step in to replace him? (Read on for why it won’t be Peter Jackson.) READ FULL STORY

Critics down on 'Lovely Bones,' but swoon for star Saoirse Ronan

The Lovely Bones has finally made it into theaters — well, three theaters; it’s in limited release until Christmas. It opened strong, pulling in $116,000 for a per-screen average of just under $39,000. If the movie, an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestseller, holds up over the coming weeks, it’ll be thanks to the many, many fans of the novel, and to the legions of die-hard devotees of director Peter Jackson.

Because Bones certainly won’t be benefiting from an abundance of critical love. For the first time since his days of making gross-out, low-budget wonders like Meet the Feebles, Jackson earned a round of reviews that were lukewarm at best, scathing at worst. The most widespread gripe? That the Oscar-sweeping Lord of the Rings guru indulged too much in CGI at the expense of emotion and consistent storytelling. (See EW’s review by Lisa Schwarzbaum here).

But even the harshest reviews (like Variety’s — ouch!) have pointed out at least one positive: the brilliance of lead actress Saoirse Ronan (above, with costar Rose McIver). The New York Times applauded her “unnerving self-assurance and winning vivacity,” while The Los Angeles Times went even further, arguing that Jackson’s “best move by far was casting young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for her compelling role in Atonement, as the murdered Susie Salmon. An enormously gifted performer, Ronan is the only element of the film that is exactly as it should be, bringing naturalness, honesty and radiance to the part of a young woman just on the cusp of life.” Click on over to The Hollywood Reporter, Newsweek, and Slate, where you’ll find similar adulation for Ronan.

I’ll leave it to Dave Karger to ponder whether Ronan’s got enough critical affection to snag an Oscar nom. I’m hoping she will. She’s a prodigiously talented actress and a cool kid to boot, mercifully devoid of any of that weird, overly precious kid-actor stuff that plagues so many youngsters in Hollywood. (Maybe it’s ’cause she lives in her native Ireland, a good 6,000 miles away from the ego-inflating bubble of Tinseltown?) Plus, she can spoof Britney Spears as well as any SNL-er. Don’t believe me? Check out the embedded clip below. It’s from Amy Heckerling’s I Could Never Be Your Women, which she shot when she was barely out of elementary school.

Awesome, right?

So are you pulling for young Ms. Ronan, PopWatchers? What about Mr. Jackson? Do you love him enough to ignore reviews? Will you see The Lovely Bones?

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