If you’re looking at the early coverage of the Comic-Con convention right now and feeling a bit jealous of all those chaps and chapesses in Aquaman and Wonder Woman outfits, here’s a crumb of solace in the shape of Peter Jackson‘s latest video blog from the set of The Hobbit. It’s exactly the sort of sneak peak that might have gone down rather well with the fans in San Diego, but the Kiwi director reckons he doesn’t yet have enough footage of the film to put on a preview proper, so Comic-Con attendees will have to make do with a Hobbit panel hosted by fan site theonering.net tomorrow morning instead.
I think I’m right in saying that this video gives us our first look at Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis together in Gollum’s cave, with the latter in a motion-capture suit. It looks like Serkis has easily slipped back into the wretched creature’s slimy skin, but Jackson stops short of giving us a proper look at Freeman in action as Bilbo Baggins. After that, it’s all about the dwarves, who come in a colourful array of shapes and sizes. In Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was a then-unknown Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords who found himself the object of fan lust after a three-second, non-speaking part amusingly dubbed Figwit (Frodo is Great [but] Who Is That?). This time round, you wonder if Aidan Turner, whom the video blog reveals has been nicknamed Sexy Dwarf by his comrades, will end up filling the pin-up gap as Kili. It certainly won’t be Stephen Hunter as Bombur, who looks like Obelix from the Asterix comics.
Away from hunky homunculi territory, the video reminds us of the return of Hugo Weaving’s Elrond and Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, and delivers an interesting nugget about another vital returnee from The Lord of the Rings. Jackson presents the video from Pinewood studios, which as most of you will know, is nowhere near The Hobbit’s New Zealand set. What’s the film-maker doing in the UK? All will be revealed …
Jackson may be right not to take footage to Comic-Con yet. Jon Favreau, in a cool piece for the Hollywood Reporter about his experiences at past conventions, reveals just how badly things can go when a film-maker turns up with nothing to show. The director describes his appearance at the 2006 Comic-Con to promote Iron Man, which hadn’t started shooting by that stage, and had very little in the way of a script:
“The whole event was a bit of a blur,” writes Favreau. “The only thing I had to announce … was that the Mandarin was set to be the villain. Anyone who has seen Iron Man knows that this was not the case, and I learned a valuable lesson: do, don’t say. Even the best-intentioned bolus of information is more likely than not to fizzle into non-existence before anything is ever accomplished. Walk softly and carry a big stick.”
Fortunately, Favreau has plenty to show this year: Cowboys and Aliens has its world premiere in front of 2,000 fans at the San Diego Civic Centre on Saturday. Meanwhile, the first instalment of Jackson’s two-part Hobbit film is out at Christmas next year. What price a Comic-Con 2012 debut?