With the final instalment of J.R.R Tolkien’s Hobbit film adaptations ready for release (our review is here), we caught time with Peter Jackson at the World Press Conference for the film.
Enquiring as to whether the unfolding international political picture informed the editing process in any way, he had much to say. In other words, was it hard to shut the real world out when dealing with themes like this?
‘Ooh, that’s quite a serious question. You’re adapting very wonderful books that were written a long, long time ago, and the thing with current politics and applying them to anything like a movie or a book, I think, is a test of the timelessness of it”, he said.
“If you think of the Hobbit, 1937, World War II hadn’t occurred yet. Vietnam hadn’t occurred. Obviously, the Lord of the Rings took off in the States in the 60s because of the Vietnam War. Somehow, the Americans at that time embraced those books, which were published in the 50s, because it spoke to them about Vietnam War.”
He continued, “So I think that when people describe things as having a timeless quality, which I think is used in a very loose way a lot of the times, I think the real test of the timelessness of a story is exactly that; that you can look at the world that you’re in at that given time and find things in the story that was written a long, long time ago that is still true. It means that it’s got some very basic human truths in it and that is embedded in these stories. It’s at the very heart of them.”
What about the prospect of any more films? Have we really heard the last of Middle Earth?
“We have the extended cut of the Battle of the Five Armies, which is going to be a fantastic extended cut. There’s going to be some really great stuff. I go back to New Zealand in the New Year and I will be working for four or five months putting that together, which will be fun because there’s some good stuff to put in it”, he replied.
“At that point, it’s a legal thing. The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien. The film rights to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late 60s, but they are the only two works of his that have ever been sold as potential films, so without the co-operation of the Tolkien estate there can’t be any more films”.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is released into cinemas on 12th December 2014.
You can watch the press conference in full below: