Over the holidays, while we were at that delightful stage of ‘filling up the corners’, as it were, Peter Jackson expounded a bit on the major differences between telling the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
“The Hobbit is very much a children’s book and The Lord of the Rings is something else; it’s not really aimed at children at all. I realized the characters of the dwarves are the difference. Their energy and disdain of anything politically correct brings a new kind of spirit to it. And that’s why I thought, OK, this could be fun!”
He also comments on the challenge of helping moviegoers differentiate thirteen dwarves.
“That was something I worried about. I imagined 13 guys with long hair and beards and I thought, ‘How are we ever going to know which dwarf is which? It’s an ensemble from hell really. I thought nine members of the Fellowship was a problem; but here, with Bilbo and Gandalf, we’ve got 15. It’s working out fine though. The dwarves give it a kind of childish, comedic quality that gives us a very different tone from The Lord of the Rings.”
Despite the difference in tone, Jackson wants it to feel like these films are the true precursors to The Lord of the Rings. Not only are Jackson and his crew “the same filmmakers going into the same world”, but the end of The Hobbit has some dark tones that help to link the stories together.
“We always saw The Hobbit more in the golden light of a fairytale. It’s more playful. But by the time you get to the end, Tolkien is writing himself into that place where he can begin that epic journey of writing LOTR, which took, as he put it, his life’s blood. All those heavier, darker themes which are so prevalent in the later trilogy start to come into play.”