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Peter Jackson Admits He Didn't Know What He Was Doing With The Hobbit

Jackson worked 21-hour days during production on the movies.


Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson had three and a half years to prepare his telling of Tolkien's classic trilogy, but he didn't have the same luxury when he replaced Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit.

The behind-the-scenes revelation in the Battle of the Five Armies DVD was posted to YouTube by Joshalots. In the video (which we assume will be taken down soon), Jackson and others who worked on the movies talk about the stark difference in prep time between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The director took over for del Toro in 2010 and according to the video said that he spent much of his time on The Hobbit feeling like he wasn't on top of it.

When del Toro left the director's chair on The Hobbit, Jackson, and with him came a different vision for the Lord of the Rings prequel, which called for big changes to the movie and its production.

"We started all over again from scratch and redesigned the movie for Peter," said conceptual designer John Howe.

"[When] I jumped in and took over, we didn't wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie," said Jackson, who only had a few months before shooting began. "[It] was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all."

Jackson said he "didn't know what the hell he was doing," resorting to winging it with no storyboards and making it up on the spot as he went. He was able to do this up to the point where he had to shoot the titular Battle of the Five Armies.

After attempting to shoot the battle scene, Jackson realized that he needed to halt production and prepare storyboards to properly film the scene.

"I couldn't wing that, really, I did need to know what the hell I was doing and have a plan," said the award-winning director. "And so what that delay, any delay, gives you is it gives the director time to just clear his head and actually have some quiet time to sit and just wait for those bits of inspiration to come about the battle that you've got coming up and start to put something together."

The Hobbit film series was a financial hit, coming close to $3 billion in the box office, but it didn't meet the highly positive critical response that Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy did. The first two movies in the prequel series were adapted to a Lego video game, which received a score of 5 in GameSpot's review. Warner Bros. told GameSpot back in March that there are no plans to release DLC to add a Lego-fied version of Battle of the Five Armies to Lego The Hobbit.

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