Friday, October 05, 2007

EW offers look at sordid state of "The Hobbit"

With this being from Entertainment Weekly, you can guess that it's not exactly the most profound piece of journalism penned to date, but the new piece about "The Hobbit" by Benjamin Svetkey does offer a pretty nifty summary of the story so far.

And, of course, none of it is pretty. I won't swipe the whole thing, which would be rather rude, but here are a few of the highlights (or, perhaps more accurately, lowlights):

On the hopeful side, EW reminds readers that, after months of publicly calling director Peter Jackson just about every bad name he could muster, New Line chief Bob Shaye made this rather remarkable turnaround to the L.A. Times in August: ''Notwithstanding our personal quarrels. Ireally respect and admire Peter and would love for him to be creatively involved in some way in The Hobbit.''

Another sign that some real progess toward having Jackson involved in "The Hobbit" is that the courts are taking real action with his suit against New Line to have the books from the three "Rings" movies audited. Last month the company was fined $125,000 for failing to provide requested accounting documents, and, EW states with no further sourcing: even in the weeks before that ruling, there were signs that New Line's hard line was beginning to buckle.

Even if the two sides facing off over what, after all, is a children's movie manage to stop acting like tempermental children, there are of course several other obstacles, mainly time. At some future date which EW didn't specify, the producer Saul Zaentz, who had a hand in that rather silly animated "Lord of the Rings" flick from the '70s, will regain the rights he once had to "The Hobbit." New Line could, of course, still buy it back from him, but that would just add another ugly wrinkle to this already protracted tale.

Jackson and his creative partner, Fran Walsh, have made rumblings about actually making two "Hobbit" movies, one based on the book and another fleshing out notes from J.R.R. Tolkein to bridge the gap between "The Hobbit" and the "Rings" books, which take place some 60 years in the future.

But, as EW points out, the biggest enemy of even one "Hobbit" flick may be Jackson's schedule. He's already about to start shooting "The Lovely Bones" (the next book on my reading list), and is then already committed to direct an installment in the coming "Tintin" trilogy.

Even if this means he's only involved with "The Hobbit" as an executive producer, with another director (please, after watching the simply excremental "Spidey 3," don't let it be Sam Raimi!!), there are signs a big decision that will let this finally move forward may be coming soon. Since this story has already lasted a lot longer than Bilbo's quest to separate Smaug from his ill-gotten bounty, we can only hope so. You can read all of the EW article here.

Hope for a "Serenity 2"?

This glimmer, and that's really all I can it, comes from "Firefly" and "Serenity" star Alan Tudyk, via the fine folks at Moviehole.

Tudyk, a k a Serenity pilot Wash, told Moviehole that, due to how well both editions of "Serenity" have been selling on DVD, there is indeed "talk" about doing a sequel, but he didn't add any other specifics.

“They had to put [the new DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of the other one and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s do another one.’ And now ... there’s now a chance there’s going to be another movie,” Tudyk told Moviehole.

There are several reasons why this would make a tremendous amount of sense. First of all, if made for a reasonable budget, any new "Serenity" movie would have a built-in and tremendously loyal fan base already in place to help recoup the studio's investment. And secondly, if this, as is most likely to be the case, goes directly to DVD, the money would be even easier to recoup.

As for Tudyk's involvement, anyone who's seen "Serenity" (and who in the world hasn't?) knows it would be hard for him to be too involved, unless the movie turned out to be a prequel of sorts (if you don't know why or can't figure it out, you won't hear it from me.) Whether or not he gets to be involved or not, I'm sure all fans of "Firefly" and "Serenity" will join me in giving even the idea of another flick a hearty huzzah. You can read all of Moviehole's piece here.

Friday trailer two-fer

These two YouTube clips are of wildly varying importance, so I'll start with the big one first. It is, as far as I can tell, the first trailer for Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," and it looks about as good as I could have possibly imagined. In it, you get to see Johnny Depp croon and Helena Bonham Carter swoon, and you even get a glimpse of Borat.

Next comes an appropriately silly teaser for Will Ferrell's next flick, "Semi-Pro." With a promising cast that includes Ferrell, Jackie Earle Haley, Andre "3000" Benjamin, Will Arnett, Maura Tierney (where has she been?), Woody Harrelson and Rob Cordry, I'm relatively optomistic that this flick about a semi-pro basketball team from Flint, Mich., (hopefully filmed in the rather dilapated city), will be very funny. Be warned: The entire clip focuses on Ferrell's rather hairy body, so if you don't to see that just say no. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

The whole fracas behind The Hobbit is one that still mystifies me. Indeed, talk about biting the hand that feeds you...I would think it would have occurred to New Line that they need Jackson on board The Hobbit, especially as a director. Unfortunately, it still seems to me that's none too likely.

As to a Serenity sequel, I'm all for it, even if it is direct to DVD. Of course, if I had my druthers, Firefly would return to the small screen...

Reel Fanatic said...

The EW article had a figure that I should have known about already but still managed to stun me, Mercurie .. if you add up the worldwide box-office totals of the three "Rings" movies, it comes very close to $3 billion ... A simply staggering amount of money to screw up over a rather petty squabble, I'd have to say

Bob said...

Of all the sources to find out about a possible "Serenity" sequel from... Wash was my favorite character so I'm going to have a hard time not having him in it. I have to agree with Mercurie though. It would be even better to have a new series of "Firefly." That would be way more exciting to me than the upcoming "Star Wars" series.

P.S.: Thanks for the big picture of Jewel Staite yesterday. I still have a crush on Kaylee :)

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't blame you there, Bob ... I don't see how anyone can look at her adorable face and not smile .. And I'm definitely with both of you about a Firefly series, but unless Sci-Fi steps up to the plate soon, I just can't really see that happening

Chalupa said...

I remember hearing a while back that there was supposed to be a Season 2 of Firefly on TV. That of course hasn't happened yet. I would love to see a prequel movie about some of the characters before Firefly starts. Maybe some background on the war or even just more adventures inbetween Firefly and Serenity or post-Serenity. No matter what it is, if they get all the same actors on board to play their parts and Whedon is directing - I'm all for it.

And as far as The Hobbit goes, I don't really know what to think. I was so excited for the LOTR trilogy to come out and own the special edition DVDs and everything. However, I feel like it kinda took away from what my imagination created while reading the actual books. I would love to see a good movie rendition of The Hobbit as well, but it's going to be really, really lame if they don't get Jackson involved or someone with equal talent. Even if they did get someone good to direct it, I'm sure there would be fan backlash if there were incontinuities between Jackson's Middle Earth and anyone else's.

renee said...

Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne from New Line were on Charlie Rose last night. It was a repeat from earlier this year, but they did talk about The Hobbit and Jackson quite a bit. Shaye sounded somewhat conciliatory. He admitted that his initial comments were emotional and he had probably been too defensive. Lynne sounded even more hopeful of getting Jackson to do The Hobbit. He flat out said Shaye's statements were his own and he wasn't speaking with New Line and that Jackson could do a fine job with the Hobbit. So, I still have hopes that eventually they'll be able to get the money part from LOTR behind them and move on.

Reel Fanatic said...

There definitely would be a backlash, Chalupa, so I'm definitely rooting for them to resolve their differences and get Jackson on board fully ... "The Hobbit" has always been my favorite of the Tolkein tales, perhaps because it is the one most oriented to children and, therefore, the most magical of all

Marina said...

I nearly fell over when I read the Serenity sequel news. I can hope.

As for the Hobbit news, I'm not sure what do with this news. I hope this goes ahead but with everything that's happened up to this point, I'm extremely skeptical this project will ever go ahead. I'll believe it when they go into production.

Ian said...

I just can't see "The Hobbit" working as a movie - with or without Jackson in charge. It's an episodic "chapter each night at bedtime" book not a plot for a movie.

Ian McKellen had by far the best proposal when he said it should be done as a TV series with each book chapter being an episode.

After LOTR it's hard to see how The Hobbit could ever be anything more than disappointing - it's a much lesser work.

As for Shaye vs Jackson. They're both monsters: one with little tact, manners or tolerance (and not a clue how to make a good movie if "The Last Mimzy" is anything to go by), the other is a very clever marketeer with a great bedside manner, but if I had a pound for every time I've heard his closest associates describe him as Machiavellian I'd be a lot richer than I am now!

Reel Fanatic said...

I hadn't seen that TV series idea from Sir Ian, Ian, but it's definitely one I would tune in for .. especially given that there's maybe three good new shows this year on American network TV!

Divinity said...

When he did the Q&A at Milton Keynes last year, Alan commented that he could easily be talked into a Serenity 2 where Zoe repeatedly dreams of various instances of their lovemaking. :o)

Reel Fanatic said...

I think I'm a big enough "Serenity" fan that I'd even watch something as sily as that, Divinity ... by the way, I'm gonna start watching the "Mad Men" DVDs and try to get your CDs recorded and in the mail tomorrow

Watch Movies said...

The movie, I now realize, was seriously hampered by time constraints. The creators attempted to squeeze a very eventful novel's story into a two-hour TV movie, with commercials.