The Hobbit : Comic-Con 2012
In July 2012, Richard Armitage went to Comic-Con in San Diego with Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens and Andy Serkis to promote The Hobbit.
They answered questions at a panel, at which Peter Jackson showed some footage of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson later released his eighth Hobbit production video which included a report of the visit to ComicCon.
The cast and crew did numerous interviews while they were in San Diego - links to those including Richard Armitage are below.
Interviewed by Fandango, Richard explained the technical issues of filming dwarves with normal height actors on 3D, and mentioned that the dwarves' costumes were designed to be substantial to ensure that they wouldn't look like children when shrunk in the finished film.
He spoke to IGN about Thorin Oakenshield's history and his motivation in the story of The Hobbit, and about the pressures of filming The Hobbit amidst expections raised by the success of the Lord of the Rings films. He also talked about his experience of playing an elf in a play of The Hobbit at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham when he was 11 years old. And he revealed that in spite of principal photography on the films having wrapped in early July, there were still some fight scenes to be filmed.
He also talked to TheOneRing.net about the responsibility he felt at bringing to life a character from a book he first encountered as a child when it was read to him at the age of seven, and that is loved by so many people. "It’s like you’re given this responsibility to every other person who’s read that book, who’s reading the book for the first time or who has read it when they were seven. That’s the responsibility - and you have to own that for everyone."
MTV interviewed Richard with Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman. "It's been awesome. And coming here today and seeing the way the fans are expecting the film is really exciting, because you see that expectation and love for the books and the trilogy," he said.
Asked by Hitfix about updating the character of Thorin for modern audiences, he said he never thought of updating it. "I actually did the opposite - I thought of it more as Greek tragedy. I looked at Shakespeare - a lot of my preparation I was looking at Henry V and bits of Richard III to find roots in British literature. Making it feel contemporary... they're the big themes of the story, loyalty and honour and trust and camaraderie. I think those themes are contemporary." He was then asked what he thought about the possibility of there being three Hobbit films but he said no-one was even sure where the split between the two currently planned films would be. "I think the book has its natural points of peak and trough, so hopefully our story will musically honour what Tolkein was writing."
He and the other Hobbit cast and crew were interviewed by Entertainment Weekly (highlights can be seen on the EW website, but the full interview is available on YouTube courtesy of Richard Armitage Central). Asked about Thorin (at approx 3'40"), he described the quest that he leads the dwarves on and his own need for vengeance. He continued, "it's interesting how he comes to know himself through his evolving relationship with Bilbo and his deteriorating relationship with Gandalf."
On the Hobbit panel itself, he spoke about Thorin's look. "We went through quite an evolution with the look for Thorin, and of course all of the dwarves were very clearly defined by their features. Working a prosthetic like that was one of the biggest challenges because you really have to work your face harder to portray what you're trying to express inside. On day one, I really didn't think I was going to make it anywhere close to two or three weeks into the shoot. But by the end of the journey, I couldn't work without it and I didn't recognise the person underneath it. Managing the heat and the stench of 'sweaty dwarf' was a challenge itself."
TheOneRing.net has a (poor quality) video of the panel - Richard Armitage speaks at approx 11'50". TheOneRing.net also has a gallery of photos of the panel. FirstShowing live-blogged it and GeeksofDoom has a report and pictures. Both TheOneRing.net and Entertainment Weekly give detailed descriptions of the 12 minutes of footage from The Hobbit that was shown at the panel. TheOneRing.net has a transcript of the whole panel.
Richard also attended a signing event - several pictures can be seen at the Warner Bros Comic-Con website, but see also IMDB, ScribbleLive and WarnerHomeVideo's Twitter account. WBpictures on Instagram also has a picture from Comic-Con of Richard with Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis.
The Hollywood Reporter had a general report of The Hobbit at Comic-Con and various papers carry Associated Press's report, among them the San Franciso Chronicle which included photos of the panel. And The OneRing.net reported Peter Jackson's comments about the possibility of there being a third Hobbit film.
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