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Philippa Boyens On The Hobbit: There And Back Again
‘A rift begins to open up between the dwarves’

17 March 2014  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  |  Source: Exclusive

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Philippa Boyens may not have quite the name recognition of a Peter Jackson, but her role in the Rings trilogy and the subsequent Tolkien three-parter has been pivotal. The co-writer and producer, currently talking up The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’s upcoming Blu-ray/ DVD release, boasts the most inside of tracks on the behemoth franchise as it rumbles towards its conclusion and shared it with Empire when we caught up with her.

“I can legitimately say right now that the third film doesn’t exist,” she stressed before the questions started rolling in. “Pete’s cutting it. As an entity, it’s coming together. Actually that’s not true - we have a rough assembly, so to speak, of the shape of the film and the performances. I am excited, because one of the storylines I care a lot about is the Thorin one."

Of course, The Desolation Of Smaug's cliffhanger ending left the leader of the Company of Dwarves in a state of increasing agitation, with the pressures of his quest and that massive great dragon hellbent on flaming destruction weighing heavily. And Boyens isn’t promising plain-sailing for the pint-sized royal anytime soon. “Richard Armitage is extraordinary, as Thorin descends into madness,” she said of The Hobbit: There And Back Again’s dwarfish denouement.

Asked about the reasons for that Lake-town cliffhanger, Boyens explained that as a “natural break” in the story it was “the most obvious place to end the second film”. She added: “It felt so natural that I got a shock when the audience got a shock! If you can imagine what transpires next and what’s coming, it’s quite a huge chunk of storytelling. Not only that, but you enter into the tone of the third film, which is very definitely - as is the book, by the way - moving towards the world of Middle-earth as it becomes in Lord Of The Rings. Some dark stuff goes on.”

And what of the dwarves' decision to make that most elementary of movie errors: splitting up? “We made that decision [so we would] experience the attack on Lake-town through the eyes of people we've come a long way with,” she said. “We wanted some of the dwarves to understand what happened in that firestorm, that holocaust that rains down upon Lake-town. Bofur (James Nesbitt) comes more into his own in the third film. A rift begins to open up. And I can’t say much more without going into spoilers for film three, but it’s primarily because we needed him to be there when the dragon attacks."

For lots more from Boyens, pick up the next issue of Empire on March 27. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is out on DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray on April 7. The third and final part of The Hobbit trilogy arrives with us on December 17. Head here for our soothsayer-style prediction of its likely fortunes.

 


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Your Comments

The Hobbit movies are true masterpieces
Part 3 (continued) ... they are watching "An Unexpected Journey"? To me those quiet, atmospheric scenes are the very heart of the story. Some people claim, the dangers that Bilbo and the dwarves survive, are too incredible (like when when they fall into the abyss). ... Well, in the movie "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" Gollum fell into a seemingly bottomless abyss, but he still survived. In the movie "The Two Towers" Aragorn fell from a hig More

Posted by beautiful_night at 14:38 on 12 June 2014 | Report This Post

The Hobbit movies are true masterpieces
Part 2 "The Desolation of Smaug" has been accused of being one action scene after another. I find this accusation very strange and unjustified, since there's basically only five action scenes in entire movie. The first one (Bilbo being attacked by spiders and fighting back with his sword) doesn't occure before we're 26 minutes into the movie (and it's 6 minutes long). After that we have to wait about 15 minutes for the second action scene (the river chase, which is 8 minutes long). More

Posted by beautiful_night at 14:35 on 12 June 2014 | Report This Post

The Hobbit movies are true masterpieces
Part 1 The Hobbit films have the same high artistic quality as the LOTR films. I had my doubts before I went to see 'An Unexpected Journey', but afterwards I had to admit, that Peter Jackson and his crew had re-created the magic of LOTR and they had even succeeded in making everything about Middle-Earth feel fresh. Having said that, I still think that LOTR is the best of the two trilogies. But I consider all 5-6 films to be masterpieces. The fact that the Hobbit movies contain ex More

Posted by beautiful_night at 14:31 on 12 June 2014 | Report This Post

RE: Philippa Boyens On The Hobbit: There And Back Again
you found it hard to believe given he read the book when he was a teenager... rong. Jackson read a tie-in book version of the Bakshi movie when he was 17. He did not read Tolkien's book until he was thinking of doing his own film version of LotR. That's why Boyen's was originally brought aboard: she supposedly knows her canon, although you wouldn't know it after seeing AUJ and DOS. More

Posted by Chrislynn at 23:09 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

RE: Spoilers = more AV crap
L: Chrislynn I'd rather see a faithful rendition of The Hobbit than the new-and-improved version by the Freddie Krueger of NZ. Jackson has replaced the magic and imagination of Tolkien's Middle Earth with over-the-top special effects and CGI from Weta, wiped his feet on canon, and spit on the true Master of Middle Earth's legendarium. As to the director being a fan of Tolkien, that hard to believe when he hadn't even read the book when he first broached the idea of LotR likely, h More

Posted by elab49 at 20:54 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Rift??
A rift bewteen the dwarves is not the only one - there's a fairly big rift bewteen me and the writers at the moment. This story would have had so much more emotion and depth if they'd stuck to the book i.e. no dwarf spilt at Laketown, no injury to Kili spawning THAT moment, and far less orc slaying by that pesky Greenleaf chap. And yes, far less CGI - it still looks like a computer game in places. I reeeeally hope there's no more deviations to come!! Rant over (PS I actually still love the w More

Posted by Halfling at 13:35 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Some disappointment
I am a little disappointed that Bofur is going to be more emphasized. While I like the character, it seems to be it should be Thorin, Kili and Fili and of course, most importantly, Bilbo. Tauriel and Kili should not have a romantic angle. As far as the movies, I love them. They've fleshed out the books. More

Posted by Jyslinn at 06:31 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Coming a long way and coming into their own.
Alternatively why couldn't we have gone a long way more with Bard and Thranduil to see the firestorm on Esgaroth and with Beorn and the White Council to see the firestorm on Dol Guldur. And in my mind the only Dwarves that should come into their own are Thorin, Fili, Kili, Balin and Gloin with the rest being something like extras. More

Posted by Brian Boru at 03:43 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Well, I care. Rather a lot, actually.
Life-long Tolkien fan (yes, a decade or two before LOTR movies) and I have been absolutely captivated by this rendition of the story. Can understand it may not be to all tastes, but am getting a wee bit sad about the negativity. Don't like, don't watch, I guess... But it strikes me that a certain author was also inclined to get carried away... Anyway, I am desperate to see how part three is handled and but will be sorry that it has to end. More

Posted by LeonaBob at 01:41 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Well, I care. Rather a lot, actually.
Life-long Tolkien fan (yes, a decade or two before LOTR movies) and I have been absolutely captivated by this rendition of the story. Can understand it may not be to all tastes, but am getting a wee bit sad about the negativity. Don't like, don't watch, I guess... But it strikes me that a certain author was also inclined to get carried away... Anyway, I am desperate to see how part three is handled and but will be sorry that it has to end. More

Posted by LeonaBob at 01:41 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

Spoilers = more AV crap
I'd rather see a faithful rendition of The Hobbit than the new-and-improved version by the Freddie Krueger of NZ. Jackson has replaced the magic and imagination of Tolkien's Middle Earth with over-the-top special effects and CGI from Weta, wiped his feet on canon, and spit on the true Master of Middle Earth's legendarium. As to the director being a fan of Tolkien, I find that hard to believe when he hadn't even read the book when he first broached the idea of LotR. More likely, he was a fan More

Posted by Chrislynn at 00:36 on 18 March 2014 | Report This Post

I don't care, either
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG didn't deserve the five stars this magazine gave. Not even the appearance of Smaug was enough to convince me that I have totally lost my enthusiasm for THE HOBBIT, and so has Peter Jackson, who if you may remember, wasn't going to direct this in the first place. He may be a Tolkien fan, but the passion that he had during the RINGS trilogy has long burnt out in his eyes. More

Posted by bb at 21:48 on 17 March 2014 | Report This Post

Who cares?
Jackson, Boyens, etc. should feel ashamed that they've come out with something so lifeless, flimsy and overbearingly pointless, especially considering they also made the simply outstanding Lord of the Rings trilogy. They seem to have gone out of their way to sour the legacy of their own great achievements by abandoning any adherence to what made that trilogy so fantastic, relying instead upon visuals and story telling one would expect from a cheap, tie-in computer game. I don't know how they can More

Posted by Oroborous at 20:23 on 17 March 2014 | Report This Post

There and yawn again.
Not really fussed on the Hobbit films, I absolutely loved The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy but this just doesn't work for me. The over reliance on CGI is shocking stretching the book out into 3 films is just too much.The Dwarves are interchangeable with the exception of two or three. It hink it lacks the emotional wallop of the Lord Of The Rings. More

Posted by mike2005 at 20:09 on 17 March 2014 | Report This Post

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