CHRISTCHURCH, NZ—Academy Award winner Peter Jackson is hoping his upcoming dozen installments of “The Hobbit” will appeal to readers of late British author and linguist J.R.R. Tolkien.
“People who watch closely will definitely see some Tolkien influences in the movies,” says Jackson, noting that the title character—a small humanoid with hairy feet—is similar to characters in Tolkien’s fantasy stories.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to call ‘The Hobbit’ Tolkienesque,” says Jackson, “because Professor Tolkien would have never implied an amorous relationship between a wizard and an Elf Queen, he thought that dwarves were best left one-dimensional, and he wouldn’t have signed on to making a bunch of movies out of one book.
“And there’s no way he would have had Gandalf tell Galadriel that Frodo gave him courage,” Jackson notes. “He would have thought that was such bullshit.”
Jackson says Tolkien also would not have relied so heavily on flashbacks, put Ian Holm in there, or Legolas in it. And Radagast? Come on. Why don’t you give Beren and Luthien cameos, too.
Recalling decade-old claims that Jackson’s “Fellowship of the Ring” bore a resemblance to Tolkien’s book of the same name, the director silenced critics by having Aragorn get dragged off by Wargs in the sequel.
“They would have kicked [Tolkien] out of Oxford if he pulled that bullshit in the book,” Jackson says.
Jackson’s “Hobbit” follows diminutive Bilbo Baggins as he helps a group of dwarves find their pot o’ gold, fighting Cybermen, Blue Meanies, and Yog-Sothoth, a congeries of iridescent globes. Subtitled “The Phantom Menace,” the series acts as prequel to his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, starring Magneto and Eastern Promises.
“There hasn’t been a movie based on Tolkien’s work since 1978,” Jackson says. “And while the ‘Hobbit’ series has a lot of teenagers and vampires in it, we’re hoping Tolkien fans will find something they recognize, too.”