By Sophia Savage and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 3, 2012 at 2:42PM
Though Peter Jackson's 48fps "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" doesn't come out until December, the film will build some buzz this month at Comic-Con (as it did at CinemaCon), as well it should; the two-part prequel's budget sits around $500 million and the success of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy sets very high expectations. The first installment arrives December 14. This week's EW has the exclusive on-set scoop from Jackson and his team.
"The Hobbit" will feature familliar characters from the "LOTR" trilogy - Orlando Bloom’s elf Legolas and Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, as well as Evangeline Lilly's newly created character, the elf-warrior Tauriel - despite their absence from the original J.R.R. Tolkien book (here's more on the cast). Jackson says, "In the movie, we want these characters to have story lines and a little bit more substance than they do in the book. Almost everything we’re doing is from Tolkien somewhere, whether it’s the book or the subsequent development that wasn’t published in 'The Hobbit itself.'"
On Jackson's eventual decision to direct "The Hobbit," EW states:
"[Guillermo] Del Toro’s departure [from the film in 2010] left Jackson with a tough decision: find another director, make The Hobbit himself, or watch it fall apart. 'I knew whoever was going to make The Hobbit had to have a different take on it than The Lord of the Rings, and I was worried that I wouldn’t,' he says. 'I was concerned I wouldn’t be acting instinctively –I’d simply be reacting to what I did the first time. I was excited about the film Guillermo was going to make, but when that wasn’t happening anymore, I had to think, ‘If I was going to do this, where would I want it to go?’'
More pre-Comic-Con tidbits from EW:
"Twilight fans are both excited and sad as this year’s convention will mark the beginning of the end of promotional appearances for the vampire gang as the blockbuster franchise comes to a conclusion with Breaking Dawn—Part 2 in November. 'I knew this day would come and I’d be done playing Jacob. It’s a bummer,' Taylor Lautner says. 'Each time we’d come back to film another movie it was like going back to school, or camp, or vacation.'... Says Kristen Stewart, 'The ending is nuts.'"
"Oz the Great and Powerful is bound to get a lot of buzz this year. The Wizard of Oz is Sam Raimi’s favorite film of all time, which is why he wanted absolutely nothing at all to do with this movie. 'I didn’t even want to read the script at first,' says the director, 'Luckily I did, and then I realized that it wasn’t at all what I thought... Some of these elements are just part of our cultural DNA,' Raimi says. 'We had to reinvent them in our own language. But trust me, fans of the original will recognize them.'"
"Robert Downey Jr. heads back to the big screen for his third solo outing as billionaire good guy Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, and this time around he may actually become one with his armor. The actor does tell EW that he wants to radically challenge Stark’s identity, rather than just have him battle another bad guy. 'These things tend to, in Act 3, really become about the same old things. So let’s really flip that,' he says. 'I feel like I don’t know where you go after Iron Man 3. Leave it all on the field, you know?'"