- Title: JAPAN-: Middle Earth Tokyo take-over kicks off with Hobbit cast and director
- Date: 1st December 2012
- Summary: JACKSON AND CAST WALKING ON STAGE FOR PHOTO SESSION PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES VARIOUS OF JACKSON AND CAST POSING FOR PHOTOS JACKSON AND CAST WALKING OFF STAGE
- Embargoed: 16th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVAEX2SUMRHVBVAXVHMDZ4GG6PUB
- Story Text: Middle Earth hit Tokyo with the director and members of the cast of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," speaking at a news conference on Saturday (December 1) ahead of the evening's red carpet premier event.
Coming directly from the world premiere in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday (November 28) British actor Martin Freeman, who plays the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood joined by director Peter Jackson all answered questions from the Japanese media about the making of the highly anticipated film.
Showing off his Japanese language skills actor Andy Serkis greeted the audience with 'ohayo gozaimasu' meaning 'Good morning' both as himself and as Gollum, the antagonist from 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy whose role he reprises in the first installation of 'The Hobbit' series.
"Ohayo gozaimasu. Or as Gollum would say, Ohayo gozaimasu," actor Andy Servis said in character to open the news conference.
The Hobbit movies are based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book and tell the story in the lead up to his epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings", which Jackson made into three Oscar-winning films about 10 years ago.
Following the success of 'the Lord of the Rings' many have wondered whether the highly ambitious prequel series could be pulled off successfully. Jackson said making the movie had been a terrific experience.
"It wasn't a certainty that it was going to happen. But we knew that if it did happen, we did want to be part of it. And I've got to say, it took a long time to get the film going but it was a terrific experience, probably the most fun I've had shooting a movie," Jackson said.
The production has been at the centre of several controversies, including a dispute with unions in 2010 over labour contracts that nearly sent the filming overseas and resulted in the government stepping in to change employment laws, as well as giving Warner Brothers increased incentives to keep the production in New Zealand.
Freeman said the set was a cozy and intimate experience.
"It seems like the biggest student film ever made. It's still somehow like a cottage industry, all in the best possible way. It's the biggest kind of films being made on planet earth but still feel like we're making jam or something,'' Freeman said.
Without feeling dwarfed by a leading role and his celebrity colleagues, newcomer English actor Richard Armitage embraced the experience with humility.
"Peter's work is very very unlikely to ever be remade in the future, and so when you're given the responsibility of taking on a role like Thorin Oakenshield - and I'm sure Martin felt the same - you understand that I would probably be the only person who ever plays this,'' Armitage said.
The film opens nationwide in Japan on December 14.
The second film "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" will be released in December next year, with the third "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" due in mid-July 2014.
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