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Fran Walsh, The Woman Behind the 'Hobbit' & 'LOTR' Curtain

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 3, 2012 at 2:04PM

The NY Times' Brooks Barnes compares meeting Fran Walsh, co-writer and producer of "The Hobbit" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, to meeting the Wizard of Oz. While Gollum actor Andy Serkis says that “It’s impossible to overstate her importance,” the woman remains an elusive Hollywood mystery who shies away from the spotlight. She's also Peter Jackson's partner, and tells Barnes that, “He’s not my husband. He’s never asked me, and if he did, I probably wouldn’t say yes.”
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The Hobbit

The NY Times' Brooks Barnes compares meeting Fran Walsh, co-writer and producer of "The Hobbit" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, to meeting the Wizard of Oz. While Gollum actor Andy Serkis says that “It’s impossible to overstate her importance,” the woman remains an elusive Hollywood mystery who shies away from the spotlight. She's also Peter Jackson's partner, and tells Barnes that, “He’s not my husband. He’s never asked me, and if he did, I probably wouldn’t say yes.”

Her writing partner on "LOTR" and "The Hobbit," Philippa Boyens (Guillermo del Toro also shares credit on the latter), displayed their working relationship for Barnes and admitted that "we collaborate in bed":

Ms. Walsh: “Phil is definitely Shelob, with the hairy legs.”
Ms. Boyens: “Don’t hold back, Fran. Tell him what you really think.”
Ms. Walsh: “We started out extremely sensitive to the other person’s feelings. Now we don’t worry about it.”
Ms. Boyens: “We do disagree about things. It’s part of how we work off each other.” She paused for a moment, and added, “This is going to sound bad, but we collaborate in bed.”
Ms. Walsh: “In our jammies.”
Ms. Boyens: “Surrounded by dogs. We gave up going to the office.”
Ms. Walsh: “It just seemed like one more thing to do.”

Barnes boils down their combined writing powers: "Ms. Walsh has a knack for conveying emotion, Ms. Boyens excels at structure (and line readings), and Mr. Jackson is the visual genius." Check out the complete story on Walsh here.

The first of the three "Hobbit" films arrives in theaters December 14. Here is the first review off its New Zealand premiere.

This article is related to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Fran Walsh, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.