The beginning of the film on the set of… “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Film Specials

The beginning of the film on the set of… “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Film Specials

After revisiting the Hobbit set in Wellington, New Zealand, we'll tell you why we're more excited about the fantasy epic than ever before after speaking with Peter Jackson and its stars.

Beginning on December 10th, Bilbo's journey comes to a stunning end:

The beginning of the film on the set of… “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

When we're invited to a movie set, we now think three times about whether we should actually cover the story. On the one hand, film stills are of course a good source of exclusive stories, but most of the time they are also very far-fetched. The set of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in New Zealand is a new distance record for us with 45 (!) Hours of flight, but we still do not hesitate for a moment to agree to visit the set in July 2013: after all, it is being built On the other side of the world, not only was one of the biggest films of the year, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy was also filmed here. Director Peter Jackson has made Wellington a mecca for Hollywood productions in just the last 15 years, yet the city of 190,000 is already synonymous with pure cinematic history!

During a typical set visit, you only spend a few hours on set, of which a maximum of two hours are devoted to conversations with actors and filmmakers. But The Hobbit is no ordinary production and there is too much to discover to do it all in one day, which is why the visit takes two and twelve hours – the transcribed interviews end up comprising over 150 (!) fully transcribed Din A4 pages! On day one, we took a look around the outer set of Dale City, which was once destroyed by Smaug. If we didn't know that all of this was built specifically for the movie, we would think it was actually a small village (over which a fire-breathing dragon once flew). An extremely complex action sequence with a number of extras is currently being filmed as part of the titular Battle of the Five Armies, in which Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Luke Evans (Bard) keep a company of orcs in check, while Martin Freeman (Bilbo) is the last character to bury an oak in the hope of… . What surprises us most is that Peter Jackson allows for a lot of improvisation despite the effort: Martin Freeman in particular gives a completely different performance with each take.

FILMSTARTS editor Christoph Petersen in the ruins of Dale during the filming of “The Hobbit.”

On the second day there are visits to the various departments from make-up to set design (we discover some hidden Oscar statuettes in the miniature model of Smaug's golden treasure) as well as a trip to the headquarters of Weta, the world's leading effects company alongside ILM. But the most impressive thing is a tour through some of the still-standing collections: we wander through the truly dark forest of Mirkwood and discover the hidden entrance to Mount Erebor. But all this is nothing compared to the set that workers built on the largest sound stage in the Southern Hemisphere here at the studios that still amazes even a well-traveled film journalist: The Esgaroth, built entirely on wooden stilts! Even with its size, the lakeside city makes a big impression, but the architects also designed the set in such a way that its individual parts can be separated and put back together in a new formation. This means that Peter Jackson can always show new angles of the city without anything being repetitive.

Every now and then we meet actors like Orlando Bloom, who is currently working with Second unit before Green screen Filming a scene of riding a horse on an electric horse's saddle with full physical effort (the scene is as entertaining as it sounds). And even many of those who would happily already have the day off come in for a quick chat with us in the catering tent. In the coming days we'll be bombarding you here on FILMSTARTS with detailed interviews, including with Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly. But before that happens, in the following pages we'll give you seven reasons why we're more excited for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies after visiting the set than ever before!

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“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” opens in German cinemas on December 10!

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