Peter Jackson Admits He “Winged It” With ‘The Hobbit,’ And Felt Like He Was “Not On Top Of It”

Peter Jackson Admits He "Winged It" With 'The Hobbit,' And Felt Like He Was "Not On Top Of It"
Peter Jackson Admits He "Winged It" With 'The Hobbit,' And Felt Like He Was "Not On Top Of It"

The general consensus about “The Hobbit” trilogy is that each installment was far too long and lacking the magic of their predecessor. Where “The Lord Of The Rings” films took you boldly into a richly realized world, “The Hobbit” felt unnecessarily bloated, laden with heavy VFX where you could feel every pixel, and told a story stretched to the point where you could easily read the original novella once if not twice, before you finished watching the three movies. However, Peter Jackson will be the first to admit he bit off far more than he could chew when he took over “The Hobbit” from Guillermo del Toro.

The Guardian has dug into a candid behind-the-scenes video from “The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies” DVD, and it finds Jackson laying bare this own failings, which seem to have started the moment he sat in the director’s chair. 

READ MORE: Watch: Trailer For ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy Extended Edition Theatrical Release

“Because Guillermo Del Toro had to leave and 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, which was different to what he was doing. 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. “You’re going on to a set and you’re winging it, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes, no storyboards and you’re making it up there and then on the spot […] I spent most of “The Hobbit” feeling like I was not on top of it ][…] even from a script point of view Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I hadn’t got the entire scripts written to our satisfaction so that was a very high pressure situation.”

Wow. That is remarkably honest, and even more so when you consider this is part of the special features of the film, on the official home video release. Moreover, Jackson reveals that the release date of ‘Battle Of The Five Armies,’ which he said he had “winged it” throughout the production, was pushed back because he needed more time to figure out exactly where the movie and story were headed. “We had allowed two months of shooting for that in 2012, and at some point when we were approaching that I went to our producers and the studio and said: ‘Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing now, because I haven’t got storyboards and prep, why don’t we just finish earlier?’ ” Jackson recalls about the decision to change up the scheduling, to give him more time to figure out the ending.

The question that doesn’t seem to get answered is why “The Hobbit” went from two films to three — was Jackson on board with the decision, and if so, wasn’t he just creating more problems for himself? At any rate, perhaps it’s no surprise that last year, Jackson expressed his disgust with tentpole movies, and his desire to return to more intimate filmmaking. 

“I don’t really like the Hollywood blockbuster bandwagon that exists right now,” he said in December 2014. “The industry and the advent of all the technology, has kind of lost its way. It’s become very franchise driven and superhero driven. I’ve never read a comic book in my life so I’m immediately at a disadvantage and I have no interest in that. So now it’s time for us to step back. We’re heading towards something of that [smaller] scale.”

“The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies” Extended Edition is now on home video. Watch the clip in question below

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