Guillermo Del Toro Talks about THE HOBBIT Creature Designs and Epic Battles

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I was calmly laying out the next decade of my life when The Hobbit appeared. I was preparing all these things and all of a sudden The Hobbit shows up and takes over my life.

Total film has a fantistic in depth 10 page interview with director Guillermo del Toro about his involvement with developing The Hobbit. There's no doubt that del Toro is the right man for the job on this one, any Lord of the Rings fan is excited for this prequel to happen. Both del Toro and Peter Jackson are hard at work bring Tolkien's classic tale to life.

Del Toro goes into detail in how the scripting process went, how they met on a daily basis to work on the story and the script, and how in the end they could have written 3 or 4 different versions of The Hobbit. Ian McKellen recently gave an interview in which he said this movie was written for him and his character Gandalf. Del Toro backs up that claim saying,

...we will be integrating Gandalf’s comings and goings because he does disappear in the book quite often. So, as opposed to the book, we see where he goes and what happens to him.

He discusses his relationship with Jackson saying that he is the perfect producer explaining,

Perfect producers... understand the producer is not a producer/director. A producer is a producer.

It sounds like Jackson isn't going to be the kind of producer that is always looking over del Toro's shoulder, which is a very good thing. At the same time, Jackson gives his creative feedback and constructive criticism.

One of the coolest things he talks about in the interview is the creature design! Del Toro and Jackson are both amazing at creating these creatures and I'm excited to see what they have in store for us. Especially with the dragon Smaug, the spiders of Mirkwood, the Wargs, and Beorn the bear man. Here is what he has envisioned.

The way I phrased it to Weta, I said we would keep the DNA in the same gene pool as the Rings trilogy, but that we would generate a different type of character. For example, in the trilogy most of the creatures are brutish or inarticulate.

In The Hobbit, the creatures speak: Smaug has beautiful lines of dialogue; the Great Goblin has beautiful lines of dialogue; many creatures do. So we had to design them with a different approach because you are not just designing things that are scary.

I also wanted some of the monsters in The Hobbit to be majestic.

I wanted the Wargs to have a certain beauty so that you don't have a massively clear definition: what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is not. Some of the monsters are absolutely gorgeous.

Early in production I came up with a very strong idea that would separate Smaug from every other dragon ever made. The problem was implementing that idea. But I think we’ve nailed it.

I think one of the designs I’m the proudest of is Smaug. Obviously he took the longest.

It’s actually still active: we’re finishing his colour palette and a little bit of the texture. But the bulk of the design took about a year, solid. It’s because of the unique features of the dragon.

When asked if the sequences involving Smaug and the spiders would be genuinely scary, he replied:

I think so. I hope so. At least that’s the way we’re approaching it. Every good children’s movie, be it early Miyazaki or Disney, always has a thrilling scene or two. When I read The Hobbit as a kid… Well, you have the moments like when Beorn has the heads of goblins on spikes outside his house [laughs].

Tolkien made no bones about that. There is no way to have a dragon attack a town that’s not scary. It’s the same for the spiders: there is no way of making giant spiders cocooning people so it would be gentle!

So how about those epic battle sequences like the climactic Battle of Five Armies?

I think that I’m really quite eager to go and do that. But at the same time there were so many battles in the trilogy. So one of the first things is how do we make the battles or the action in The Hobbit feel different from that?

Because it was fresh when the trilogy came out, to see those enormous valleys or fortresses being invaded by warriors.

But then after the trilogy you had Troy, Narnia, everything. It has become quite common seeing two massive CG armies attacking each other.

So we came up with a good solution, I think. It will make the battles stand out.

I can't wait to see what they have planned! I do have to say though that the battle sequences in Troy, Narnia, and everything else are nothing compared to what we saw in The Lord of the Rings.

This is just a taste of everything the interview has to offer, so I suggest you head on over to TotalFilm to read the full thing. There's no doubt in my mind that The Hobbit is going to impress the hell out of all of us movie geeks. Without seeing a single frame, picture, or concept art from the film, I can tell you with confidence this thing is going to be a cinematic masterpiece just like The Lord of The Rings. I just have complete faith in these guys.

What do you think?