The Hobbit Actor Calls Out Warner Bros. For Interfering With What Peter Jackson Wanted
"If you jump in bed with the devil and they give you $600 million dollars, you're answerable."
Warner Bros. interfered with Peter Jackson's filmmaking on The Hobbit, and it led to a lesser product in the end compared to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. This is according to actor Jed Brophy, who has known Jackson for 30 years and has appeared in many of his movies over the decades, dating back to Braindead and running through The Hobbit.
"They get in the way. They want to be 'creative,"" Brophy said using air quotes in regards to these people. "Let the creatives do the job, man. Your job is to find the money and then sell it. Don't get in the way of an auteur. I may be speaking out of turn here, and probably, if those people find me I'll get slammed, but I think Warner Bros. kind of got in the way of Peter on The Hobbit. I think they got in the way of him being able to do what he does well."
Brophy went on to say there was a "feeling of unease" on the set of The Hobbit due to this pressure. As Brophy tells it, Warner Bros. prevented Jackson from reaching the kind of "flow" state that he had on The Lord of the Rings because the studio heads wanted to make more money.
"I've known Peter for nearly 30 years now, and I can see that he wasn't the affable, funny, relaxed person that he usually is," Brophy said of The Hobbit. "You can feel that pressure--if you jump in bed with the devil and they give you $600 million dollars, you're answerable. You're answerable to their whims."
"Warner Bros., love or hate them, they're into franchises," he added.
They're into building a series of films that follow on from each other to generate income and to generate merchandising. They've got various people whose job that is to do, but none of them are auteurs, none of them are filmmakers. None of them are people who can actually look at a script and in their head imagine how you can get the best drama out of it. If you get in the way of that process, you're actually stopping someone from actually getting a flow on, and that's what I think happened [on The Hobbit]. That's what I could see happening. There was not that same flow."
Overall, Brophy said he experienced a feeling of "freedom" on The Lord of the Rings, which was contrasted by the feeling of "tightness" on The Hobbit.
The actor made it clear that he is only speaking from his own personal experience, and he can't say for sure what others might think about The Hobbit and its production process.
For what it's worth, Jackson was not even originally lined up to direct The Hobbit series. Guillermo del Toro was attached at first, but he left the project after two years of pre-production work. Jackson stepped in to direct what would become three movies, and, while the films made billions at the global box office, they were not as critically adored as the Lord of the Rings series.
On The Lord of the Rings, Jackson had time for extensive pre-production work, but due to the change in directors and other factors, he was not afforded the same luxury on The Hobbit. Jackson admitted that he was basically winging it on The Hobbit.
The Lord of the Rings remains very popular today. Harper Collins is releasing a new Middle-earth book that will, among other things, explain who can grow beards.
Amazon is currently filming a very expensive TV show based on the fantasy series in New Zealand, while there are multiple Lord of the Rings video games in the works, including an MMO and a title featuring Gollum.
Additionally, the house in which Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is up for sale, and a charity has been established to try to buy it and convert it into a museum. And in even more news, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are now available in 4K UHD.
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