‘The Hobbit’ Director Guillermo Del Toro Talks Smaug The Dragon, Story Concerns

Yesterday, we posted some of Eric Ditzian’s interview with Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” and upcoming “Hobbit” movies. In one of the more compelling bits, the actor revealed that the scripts for the two films with feature plotlines culled from other J.R.R. Tolkien sources.

McKellen wouldn’t elaborate any further than that, but a recent interview Guillermo del Toro gave to TotalFilm may shed some additional light on what the Gandalf actor was referring to. “We are respecting the structure established by Professor Tolkien because the order of the adventures in ’The Hobbit’ is well known to generations and generations of kids,” the director said. “You don’t want to be moving stuff like that.” So what’s new?

“We will be integrating Gandalf’s comings and goings [into the script] because he does disappear in the book quite often,” he continued. “So, as opposed to the book, we see where he goes and what happens to him.”

For those who don’t remember or haven’t read the book, frequent references are made to Gandalf’s and his fellow wizards’ campaign against the shadowy Necromancer. The story never explicitly shows us what happens there, but Tolkien did elaborate on those events in his other writings.

Del Toro also spoke some on his plans for the creatures in “The Hobbit.” As anyone who’s seen his earlier efforts — the two “Hellboy” movies, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and so on — knows, this is an area of particular interest for the director.

“In ’The Hobbit,’ the creatures speak: Smaug has beautiful lines of dialogue; the Great Goblin has beautiful lines of dialogue; many creatures do. So we had to design them with a different approach because you are not just designing things that are scary,” he said. “I wanted the Wargs to have a certain beauty so that you don’t have a massively clear definition: what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is not.” (Editor’s note: Wargs are oversized wolf-like creatures ridden by Orcs in Tolkien’s fiction)

It’s Smaug the dragon that we should be most excited about, if del Toro’s words are any indication. “The bulk of the design took about a year, solid. It’s because of the unique features of the dragon,” he explained. “Early in production I came up with a very strong idea that would separate Smaug from every other dragon ever made. The problem was implementing that idea. But I think we’ve nailed it.”

Sadly, we’ll be waiting quite some time before we find out if del Toro’s can deliver on such a grand promise. It’s easy to put faith in the guy though. Between his own background and producer Peter Jackson overseeing everything, fans can probably expect another “Lord of the Rings” grand slam in “The Hobbit.” A work that is at once faithful to the source and a unique work that stands on its own.

For more from del Toro’s massive interview, head over to TotalFilm.