Peter Jackson says he “winged it” with The Hobbit trilogy

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

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Although The Hobbit movies grossed over $2.9 billion worldwide, they didn't reach the critical heights of the Lord of the Rings flicks, and in a fascinating behind-the-scenes video from The Hobbit Trilogy Blu-ray, Peter Jackson said he really didn't know what he was doing while shooting the films. Jackson came on board to direct after Guillermo del Toro left the project, and the filmmaker says that didn't leave him with a whole lot of prep time before filming began.

Because Guillermo del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn’t wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie I was going to make, which was different to what he was doing…It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all.

You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot […] We would just tell the crew to take an extended lunch for an hour or so because I wanted to just get my head completely clear and plot it through. I spent so much of The Hobbit feeling like I was not on top of it […] even from a script point of view Philippa [Boyens], Fran [Walsh], and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high pressure situation.

Jackson went on to say that having to fly by the seat of his pants was the reason why the theatrical release date for THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES was pushed back.

We had allowed two months of shooting for that in 2012, and at some point when we were approaching that I went to our producers and the studio and said: ‘Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing now, because I haven’t got storyboards and prep, why don’t we just finish earlier?…And so what that delay gives you is time for the director to clear his head and have some quiet time for inspiration to come about the battle, and start to really put something together.

I highly recommend watching the full video (which is below), because it really gives you an idea of just how chaotic it was during the production of the Middle-earth films.

The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Source: The Guardian, YouTube

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