Crowd goes crazy for Hobbit footage
If reaction to The Hobbit footage at Comic-Con is any indication, Peter Jackson has another couple of blockbusters on his hands.
The crowd attending Jackson's Hobbit preview at the fan convention in San Diego went wild over a 12-minute reel the film-maker and his colleagues screened.
Broken into two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, the 3D epic is Jackson's prequel to his Lord Of The Rings trilogy, whose finale won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and director.
An Unexpected Journey arrives in cinemas in December, with There And Back Again following in December 2013.
The films are based on JRR Tolkien's prequel novel, which chronicles how tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) acquired the ring of power that features in The Lord Of The Rings, Jackson's three-part adaptation of Tolkien's fantasy saga.
Along with Jackson and Freeman, The Hobbit panel at Comic-Con featured Lord of the Rings co-stars Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as the wizard Gandalf, and Andy Serkis, who is back as twisted ring-keeper Gollum. Also on hand was Richard Armitage, who plays the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield.
Jackson showed 12 minutes of footage that included a chillingly comic exchange between Bilbo and Gollum; a tender moment between McKellen's Gandalf and Cate Blanchett, reprising her role as elf queen Galadriel; and the pivotal moment when Bilbo discovers the ring.
A surprise guest was Elijah Wood, who starred as hobbit Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.
Freeman said he never felt intimidated as a newcomer to Jackson's team.
"Obviously, you can't really take intimidation or pressure to work with you, because you won't do your best work," Freeman said. "And you won't do your best playing, which is an actor's job."