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  • Hello, welcome to the first of our blogs on the making of "The Hobbit." It's amazing to

  • be back here again. This is Bag End exactly as it was in "The Lord of the Rings." It was

  • actually built in our B-stage here in Wellington, which is exactly the same stage as it was

  • built 12 years ago. We've been shooting for a few days now, and I just wanted to take

  • this opportunity to give you a little look at the lead-out of filming and some of the

  • pre-production that lead up to the first day of our shoot. And I look forward to keeping

  • you up-to-date as we go through the next two or three years. See you soon! Oh, you're in

  • 3D - looking good. See ya. And this pulls beautifully. This look great when it's drawn

  • - and it actually works. And he could also go fighting with the remnants, sort of hanging

  • on to his body and be impaling people. We wanted to create a very non-human shape. We

  • do need to do a little blog. You might want to say "hi" to the fans of "The Hobbit." Shy

  • artists... my dear, my dear. So we're going up to wardrobe, and we're having a look at

  • a couple of dwarf wardrobe and makeup fittings, which is always exciting - not that we'll

  • show you much in this particular blog because we'll save them for the future. But at least

  • you'll get to see a little bit of our wardrobe department. A lot of very busy people working

  • on a lot of costumes. A lot of interesting textures and detail and leather and embossing,

  • and it's all pretty cool, yeah? It's like sort of a big wizard's workshop. Hello. Oh

  • my God - hello. You can use it like a mase. You can just swing, knocking, and cut their

  • throat, and whacking like this. Let me say, there's a nice bit were he goes, and takes

  • out about ten orcs with those. Now this is a familiar set. It's "Elron's Chamber," so

  • it's an exact copy of the one we had in "The Fellowship of the Ring." In fact, just over

  • here on the balcony, is where the Council of Elrond took place - where the fellowship

  • was formed, and Frodo wanted to take the ring to Mordor. Also in "The Hobbit" is going to

  • be a lot of new bits of Rivendale that we haven't seen before - some really cool bits

  • of Rivendale, actually, that we'll keep as a little surprise for the time being. Now

  • there's an old friend upstairs. Let's just have a quick look. Here we are. I'm sure you'll

  • recognize the statue where the broken sword sits. And, of course, in the time of "The

  • Hobbit," the sword is going to be here. It is strange walking around here because you

  • know it was up about ten or eleven years ago, and I'm used to looking at a set like this

  • on film, you know, and now we're walking back into it again. It's almost like you've stepped

  • inside a movie. It's a very weird experience. This is where we're going to be shooting.

  • It's the very beginning of our shoot. It's the goblin tunnels below the Misty Mountains.

  • It's a very iconic scene in "The Hobbit," where Bilbo has an encounter with, well, you

  • know who it's with, don't you? If you've read "The Hobbit." No need to spoil it for anyone

  • who hasn't. But this is a little network of caves. Look, there's a whole little set of

  • passageways down here. It's very claustrophobic. One of the things we've done to be able to

  • shoot the shots is make sure that all the different walls of the cave can be removed

  • so that our big, bulky cameras can actually shoot the angles that we need. Oh my God,

  • look at this thing here. That looks like a foot, or an arm. Oh, I don't know. That looks

  • rather creepy, doesn't it? Whew. Okay. So how many chairs do we need? For instance,

  • I reckon Bomber sits at the end. And then there's a slight grapple, and when you hop

  • down, it's like ahhhh. And then it's like... yeah. Now, I know it's sort of safe. This

  • is blocking. This is not really rehearsing, but we're kind of giving the actors a walking

  • through and we talk to them about what to do with the scene. And it's actually fun because

  • it means when we come to this, we've got a plan. It'd be good if you come forward, and

  • then you realize that there's something on your foot. And perhaps, you try to get ride

  • of it first, and then you... This'll be fun. This'll be more fun when everyone's in makeup

  • and costumes and dying of the heat. Set up on the corner of the table, we've got Killy.

  • Next to Killy, Filly. And then Dorry... Dorry, and then Nory... Oh my God. Orry, Dorry, Norry,

  • Biffer, Bomber... (mumbling) This is a nightmare. We'll have Gandalf here, and Thorin, too.

  • I thought it would be good to give you this whole doorway to play in kind of. The fire

  • will be blazing as well... Now my prediction is that it's all going to go incredibly well

  • on the day, don't you agree? Um... The tricky thing is that there are 13 dwarves on this

  • set. The good thing is you're not in a fat suit. I am in a nose and false eyebrows, a

  • wig, a mustache, a beard, but you're right, no fat suit. Yeah, you're a winner. You're

  • a winner every step of the way. And we can stick a fan up your robe just to give you

  • a bit of air conditioning. Promises, promises. Well that's going to work with a little bit

  • of finishing. That's going to work. Good morning. Morning. Mornin'. Good morning. So I'm officially

  • the first person in the makeup chair on "The Hobbit?" Officially. That's amazing. Chanting...

  • More chanting... My name's Richard, I'm from London, England. I would like to give thanks

  • on behalf of everyone here, and visitors for this ceremony, for this celebration, for the

  • blessing of the soundstage, and for the welcome that you offer to us. We are all deeply honored

  • to be here. And to everyone who has waited so long for this day, to begin this extraordinary

  • journey filming "The Hobbit." I'd like to wish them good luck, good health, and good

  • harmony. Thank you. My name's Martin Freeman. I'm in the cast as well. He stole everything

  • I've got to say. So it's been a long time coming today, an even longer time than we

  • thought it'd be. So I hope at the end of this journey we are all as close with each other

  • as we have the potential to be. So, thank you very much. Hello everyone, I'm Andy Serkis.

  • I am standing up just to say on behalf of the returning crew and past who have come

  • gathered here to go on the journey. We are just very, very grateful to your incredibly

  • hospitality. And to have the opportunity to share the passion to tell such an amazing,

  • amazing story in such an amazing country with such beautiful people. You know, for a long

  • time I thought that going back to the amazing experience of "Lord of the Rings" wouldn't

  • be a good idea. But really, you know, now I've come completely around because films

  • are stressful and they're hard to make, but ultimately what makes them fun is the people

  • that you work with. And the fact that we're going to be working with a lot of the old

  • gang, with a lot of friends, and obviously making some new friends is really the point

  • of being here. So I'm extremely thrilled. If somebody came up to me today and said that

  • we could carry on pre-preproduction for another six weeks, I'd say no way. Hell no. Let's

  • just start shooting. And roll sound. Rolling. And action. In a hole in the ground, there

  • lived a hobbit. Sky darkens. And flames. And cut. That's great. That'll do. Thank you very

  • much. Yay! That's the one. Thank you very much everybody for a great first block, and

  • have a great break. Everyone's having a break, and we'll see you back here soon enough. Ladies

  • and gentlemen of the second unit, that is a wrap on block 1! So we're just going to

  • get one more pickup in Bag End. Hello. Come in. Hey Andy. We were going to do one more

  • pickup in here if that's alright. This is the video blog pickup. That's right, there

  • you go the end of block one. Anyway, so we just wanted to say hi to everyone since we

  • haven't done one of these video blocks since the beginning of the shoot. God, it feels

  • like a lifetime. Because you, the first week of shooting we did with Andy is gone. If he

  • loses precious then we eats it. You weren't a second unit director in those days. You

  • were an actor. You were an old-fashioned thespian. Now I've crossed though to the dark side.

  • You've now gone to the dark side. I'm wiped. I'm completely wiped. It's all yours. Is it?

  • Just give us a good battle. Yeah, okay, okay. I don't know how you do it. You get tired.

  • I always just tell people I get exhausted at the end of the first couple days and stay

  • exhausted until it finishes. We have 250 days of shooting on these two Hobbit movies, and

  • I think it's a much better way to divide it up into three blocks, and then have some time

  • to look at what you've done, look at it, hand visual effects shots over to the CGI guys.

  • You can completely focus on the script revisions. It's just a much smarter way to shoot these

  • big films. Yeah, on something of this scale, too. I mean, when we were given our T-shirts

  • that said 54 days down, 200 to go, I have to admit I don't know how great it was to

  • say "wear these on set." It wasn't a particularly moral-boosting moment, was it? Everywhere

  • you turn, on people's backs was "200 days to go," and it was like, "oh God," I felt

  • tired before lunch, you know? The good news is that it's over. The first day back is Monday,

  • the 5th of September. So thank you guys. What are you guys off to during the break? My lovely

  • wife and I, my wife Haley, and I, we've got a holiday in the south island of New Zealand

  • planned. And my lovely, gorgeous wife Nicole, and I are just going to work on the house.

  • I'm leaving, shortly after talking to you for London, which is a long journey. By plane,

  • and once there I immediately go into production of a play I'm going to do. I'm going to America,

  • to pebble beach, in a week to play some golf. I'll work on my tan so I that I can really

  • freakin make a pic when I come back. I'm having a break. I'm having 4 weeks off. I'm just

  • sleeping in, my favorite hobby. First, we're going to Australia to see our oldest daughter.

  • I'm going to run a marathon. I'm going to attempt to sort of write and record a bit

  • of a psychedelic sludge of rock album. Hitting the fabric shops in central London. I go home

  • to Thailand tomorrow. To Barcelona to meet tattoo fans from Spain. Bali for 11 days.

  • London and Paris to see friends. Manhattan Beach because it's the closest beach to the

  • airport. I haven't been home for the last three years, back in Belgium so my mom is

  • cracking the whip. And then I'm going to Vegas and spend all my hard earned cash. Do some

  • more swimming and lots of golf. Probably getting a little bit drunk, a little bit on a holiday.

  • I'm looking forward to getting back with my mates and getting on the drink, where I won't

  • get a bad reputation because they already know what I'm like. And then I'm going back

  • to Ireland to see my family and to see some of my mates in Belfast for a quiet little

  • weekend. I hope nobody phone's me for about three weeks, at least. Hopefully come back

  • totally refreshed and ready to rock on the next lot. What are you doing on break Andy?

  • Well I'm going back home to maybe have a little time off to go on and live with the family.

  • And then really, before you know it, I'll be back. It's weird because you get to this

  • point when you're at the end of a block of shooting, and it sort of almost feels like

  • you're going on vacation, but it's not because on Monday morning I'm in the cutting room.

  • And then I've got to have meetings with Alan and John and Dan about designing stuff for

  • the second block and then with Richard Taylor about all the things he has to build. So in

  • some respects I'm back into preproduction again. But also, I'm in post production because

  • I'm editing. Plus we're in production because we're shooting these movies. So it's like

  • being in pre-production, production, and post-production all at the same time. It kind of gets a bit

  • screwy. But before I get to do any of that I've got to jump on a plane tomorrow morning

  • and go location scouting down the south island. So we'll take some good pictures. Since we're

  • going to be doing location shooting during our next block of shooting, it's really time

  • to have to nail everything down. Along the routine, there'll be about 17 of us that go.

  • We get around in 5 helicopters usually, and it's quite a spectacle that we turn up. Peter

  • Carrow, Zane, Brigette, Andrew, Dan Hennah, Simon Bright the art director, Steve Ingram,

  • John Howe, Ellen Lee, Eric Sanden, Tony Keddy the grip, Rich Gasow the gaffer, myself, location

  • scout Dave Cummer joins us, and Pete's assistants, Sebastian, the faithful Sebastian's there.

  • Here on the mountains, I put my hand out and a cup of tea slides into it. That's what we

  • like. There's even a Starbucks up here in the southern Alps. It's pretty hard to walk

  • and juggle a cup of tea at the same time on this sort of ground. I never quite prepare

  • for some of these things. I always somehow imagine it's going to be dry and warm and

  • nice. At least it's not raining. We'll be not just scouting, which is essentially searching

  • for locations, we're now returning to the locations we liked and we're going to start

  • to talk about the logistics. By the time you've helicoptered everyone in and then you've got

  • to helicopter them out before nightfall. You're not actually here early morning or late afternoon.

  • You're right, it's all broad daytime. On set, we're allowing approximately half a rugby

  • field for the essential equipment trucks. And then our marquee's crew parking and also

  • unit based parking, which is where all our makeup and costume facilities are. In essence,

  • we need to create space for two rugby fields of equipment. It's weird on locations because

  • you're standing in the middle of a mountain or a valley or some beautiful place, and you're

  • having to figure out, "Where are we going to put the