Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit

1. Jackson believes Guillermo del Toro is the right man for the job.

Peter Jackson: “He has respect for fantasy. He understands it, he's not frightened by it. Guillermo also understands character, and how the power of any movie is almost always linked to how closely we empathize with characters within the story.

His work shows great care and love for the main characters he creates. He also has supreme confidence with design, and visual effects. So many film makers are scared of visual effects - which is no crime, but tough if you're doing one of these movies!”

2. The locations won’t be CGI - and it will be filmed in New Zealand.

Peter Jackson: “Middle-earth is location, with very few structures really. It's a natural countryside and that's where a lot of shooting will take place.”

Guillermo del Toro: “Location will be favoured and real set construction. I love REAL set construction and think that sets are very important part of the storytelling and scope of a film...”

Peter Jackson: “It is unlikely we will need any locations outside of NZ which has always been the perfect Middle Earth. there is nothing yet that Tolkien has described that we haven't managed to find in this amazing little country and I expect the Hobbit to be no different.”[page-break]

3. Howard Shore will return to do the score.

4. Gandalf The Grey will return – and Ian McKellen is playing him.

Peter Jackson: “I'm pleased to be getting Gandalf the Grey back for two more movies. Ian and I loved him best. We were a little sad when the Gandy the White took over.”[page-break]

5. It’ll be intense.

Guillermo del Toro: “I hope that Mirkwood can be pretty scary but not graphic, I hope Riddles in the dark has an element of fear and suspense and to be deeply atmospheric but still allow the ingenious, engaging contest to take place.

And Smaug should be all shock and awe when he unleashes his anger so, it will be pretty intense but not gorey.”

Peter Jackson: “The rating will be the same as the Trilogy, PG-13 on both movies.”

6. Peter Jackson might direct some of it...

7. ...and he plans on being involved in the process.

Peter Jackson : “My interest is helping Guillermo make the very best films he can. I love writing and I'm looking forward to that. Guillermo will be writing, along with Fran, Philippa and myself. As a director, I could never direct something I didn't have a hand in writing, and we're not expecting Guillermo to do that either.

I see my role as being part of that writing team, which will create the blueprint, and then helping Guillermo construct the movie. I want Guillermo to make his movies, and I want to make sure we end up with a 5 movie series that's as good as it can possibly be.”[page-break]

8. Guillermo isn’t afraid to make changes to stay faithful to the book...

Guillermo del Toro: “The Wargs will be different from the Hyena ones established in the Trilogy - they will be faithful to the creatures in the book and will be redesigned accordingly.”

9. ...but he wants to keep the worlds consistent.

Guillermo del Toro: “The world must feel like the same world. The aspect ratio, music, essential established costume and production design trademarks but I would love to bring a lot of new flavours to the table.

The Hobbit is, in essence, an overture to a massive Symphonic work so main themes are reprised but new modulations and new colours are introduced, thematically and texturally.”

Peter Jackson: “I love Guillermo's symphonic allusion. The "overture" can have a different flavour, a different texture, yet be a carefully crafted introduction to what's to follow. Film Two is perfect to dramatise the shift in Middle-earth that propells us into the dark days of LOTR. If LOTR is World War One, then the Hobbit is like an Edwardian adventure tale, set in the days before the world notices the looming storm clouds.”

Guillermo del Toro: “I normally use 1:85 but I thoroughly plan to respect Peter’s choice of format used in the Trilogy (2:35:1) but it is my intention, for now, to shoot this on film, not HD.”[page-break]

10. Guillermo understands how important Smaug is.

Guillermo del Toro: “I plan to create something new and groundbreaking.

Smaug should not be ‘the Dragon in the Hobbit movie’ as if it was just ‘another’ creature in a Bestiary. Smaug should be ‘The Dragon’ for all movies past and present.

The shadow he cast and the greed he comes to embody - the "need to own" casts its long shadow and creates a thematic / dramatic continuity of sorts that articulates the story throughout.

In that respect, Smaug the CHARACTER is as important, if not more important, than the design. The character will emerge form the writing - and in that the Magnificent arrogance, intelligence, sophistication and greed of Smaug shine through.

One of the main mistakes with talking dragons is to shape the mouth like a snub Simian one in order to achieve a dubious lip-synch... A point which eluded me particularly in Eragon, since their link is a psychic one.

To me, Smaug is the perfect example of a great creature defined by its look and design, yes, but also, very importantly, by his movement and - one little hint - its environment.

Think about it... the way he is scaled, moves and is lit, limited or enhanced by his location, weather conditions, light conditions, time of the year, etc.

That's all I can say without spoilers but, if you keep this curious little summary you'll realize several years form now that those things I had in my mind ever since doodling the character as a kid had solidified waaay before starting the shoot of the film.

As to his voice- well, each reader has a Smaug voice in his / her head, just like you always do when "hearing" a great character in a book.”

I have mine... and it will be revealed in time...”

11. There will be talking animals.

Guillermo del Toro: “I think it should be done exactly as in the book - the “talking beast” motif has to exist already to allow for that great character that is Smaug. It is far more jarring to have a linear movie and then – out of the blue – a talking Dragon.”[page-break]

12. Del Toro is well aware of the difficulties in adapting it.

Guillermo del Toro: “There are so many - I am all for trying to preserve every idiosyncrasy the novel has - the very things that seem “unfilmable” and that - in my mind- will make it thrilling as a film.

The novel is much, much more inventive and dislocated in its narrative (Bilbo being hit by a rock during the Battle) than you may think at first. I think that you can treat a classic like a museum piece - stuffed and mounted - or you can make it a living, breathing narrative that is unfolding right then and there.”

Peter Jackson: “Structure is important in film, but as Guillermo says, there's often structure to be found in the most unlikely of places! It's quite possible to build a structured story and retain idiosyncrasy. It's going to be part of the joy of writing this.”[page-break]

13. Gollum’s in it.

Guillermo del Toro : “Gollum has a rather fascinating arch to go through, his alliance to Shelob and his period of imprisonment in Thranduil's. There can never be too much Andy.”

14. Ian Holm will be influential in the creation of Bilbo Baggins...

15. ...and The Lord Of The Rings cast will return.

Guillermo del Toro: “The actors that have been approached may or not have appeared in the Hobbit as a literary work but still may appear in the second film as it “blends” into the Trilogy and expands.

Therefore what can be said is: Unequivocally, every single actor that originated a role in the Trilogy will be asked to participate and reprise it. If Health, availability or willingness become obstacles – and only in that case recasting would be considered.

Peter Jackson: “Like Guillermo says, apart from extreme circumstances, we would never recast a character who appeared in the LOTR trilogy. You can read The Hobbit and pretty much see which characters play a part.

The unknown facter is Film Two, which we are still developing. If we wished to write one of the LOTR characters into the narrative of Film Two, we would only do that with that actors blessing, and willingess to take part. Otherwise we'd take the writing in another direction.”

Sam Ashurst is a London-based film maker, journalist, and podcast host. He's the director of Frankenstein's Creature, A Little More Flesh + A Little More Flesh 2, and co-hosts the Arrow Podcast. His words have appeared on HuffPost, MSN, The Independent, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, and many more, as well as of course for us here at GamesRadar+.