The word "visionary" gets thrown around these days all too casually, but director Guillermo del Toro is one man for whom it is both earned and wholly appropriate. Now, with the release of "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" only two weeks away, del Toro is already shifting his vision to the future, training his childlike gaze on Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Thorin Oakenshield and other beloved characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's famous legendarium.MTV News recently sat down with del Toro and brought along a whole host of fan questions on "The Hobbit" (as well as some of our own). The Mexican director talked about why Peter Jackson told him to lose weight, which "LOTR" stars might be returning and how Tolkien's personal faith will influence the project. (And don't forget to head over to the MTV Movies blog for even more answers from del Toro.)
Del Toro: They said that? I'm a f---ing fan of all of them! The thing is that here and there in the book, in the existing book, there are places to have them almost casually, in secondary roles that are not that important but that would be incredibly enhancing as cameos go. But it is the second movie that is the treasure trove of possibilities. I believe the second movie will be present as an opportunity of enthusiasm and creation. I frankly look forward to that one so much. I really want us to prove that we have a solid concept for that, but the promise of that land is absolutely mind-boggling! I can't wait to mount on the horse and ride, and I hate horses!
Q: When can we hope to hear the title of [the second "Hobbit" film]? — Blueman
Del Toro: When we know where we are going to take it. We are going to have the big pow-wow about story and script, and start those processes officially after taking notes and readings and talking. Then we'll know. Funnily enough, I think the title is incredibly delicate on the second film because it will immediately tell you what it is. It cannot be "The Hobbit 2" because that sounds like "Electric Boogaloo"! [Laughs]
Q: You've repeatedly mentioned your desire to include Ian Holm, but given a lot of circumstances, it seems unlikely to me that he would return for all the action. Would you use him as a narrator, or in a framing device? Something like him reading "There and Back Again" to young hobbits? — MTV News
Del Toro: If Ian Holm is able and willing and in health and in disposition, I would love more than anything to use him. ... I think a lot of people don't take into account the inevitable physical exertion that making two movies back-to-back entails.
So that said, I think that there are many possibilities to keep Ian Holm involved in the movie. I will be as tricky as I can to keep him involved. A narration would be one resource I would absolutely embrace. But as I said before, I believe he created a beautiful, memorable character. He owns it, and we have to honor that. If there is any recasting for the younger part and so forth, it will permeate that decision and affect it. At the end of the day, the answer is we will keep him as involved as humanly and physically possible.
Q: What's the best advice Peter Jackson gave to you about this process? — MTV News
Del Toro: To lose weight! He said to me, "Lose weight, man, because you are not going to survive it if you are that fat!"
Q: Tolkien was a man of deep faith. Do you foresee exploring any theological or spiritual themes in making "The Hobbit" movie ? — K. Cassidy
Del Toro: I believe "The Hobbit" is a narrative that contains characters that are very symbolic of certain human traits. Obviously, pride and greed are easily found in Smaug the Dragon. Then the humble, sort of a sturdy moral fiber that Bilbo has very much represents the idea that Tolkien had about the little English man, the average English man. The dwarves represent other qualities, the elves represent other qualities and, like, in any fairy tale or fantasy narrative that is worth it, all these characters conform to a view of the world that is spiritual, ethical and moral. I think that this morality, this spiritual tale, will play a [large] part in the movie.
Q: I am wondering if you have given any thought to ways you might incorporate some of Tolkien's insights via his paintings and sketches? — Arathorn Jax
Del Toro: I think Tolkien has a great sense of design in his paintings. He has this fusion between medieval illuminations, art nouveau and art deco. It's a very strange fusion. Obviously, there is a guideline there to be followed — up to a point! I do intend to use some of the cues that he laid out that were not used in the trilogy. They will be another influence [I use]; they will not be a dogma just to follow verbatim.
Check out everything we've got on "The Hobbit."
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