‘Hobbit’ puts Gollum in new light

Los Angeles Times


It’s been nine years since the release of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” the concluding installment in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy.

In movie terms, that might not seem quite so long ago, but when it comes to the light-speed at which movie-making technology advances, it might as well be a lifetime.

Which explains why, when “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opens in theaters Friday, audiences will see a more intricately rendered Gollum, the motion-capture creation memorably brought to the screen by actor Andy Serkis, according to Jackson.

“Gollum certainly benefits from a much more intricate muscle system,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego, just before announcing that the two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit” would become a trilogy.

“Obviously with a CGI character you’re building a character in much the same way as a real creature is built,” he said. “You build the bones, the skeletons, the muscles. You put layers of fat on. You put a layer of skin on which has to have a translucency depending on what the character is.

“Gollum is a much more sophisticated performer now than he was 10 years ago,” Jackson continued, though he made a point to note that the creature, disfigured by his own dark obsession, will still seem quite familiar. “We’ve deliberately made him look the same. I really wanted ’The Hobbit’ to very much have a consistency with the first three movies.

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