EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Hobbit’ Effects Supervisor ‘Still In The Design Phase,’ Excited To Highlight The ‘Uniqueness’ Of The Dwarves

Whether or not you believe the talk of delays for “The Hobbit,” there’s no denying that it’s going to be filmed and it’s going to be released at some point. Plenty of people are talking about it, after all. And according to effects supervisor Richard Taylor, who spoke to MTV’s Larry Carroll in an exclusive interview, preparations are moving right along.

After keeping Larry on hold for a longer-than-usual amount of time, Taylor picked up the phone with an apology on his lips. “It’s so busy here,” he said. “I was in a big meeting about how to make the new designs of armor for the new film. That’s always good fun.” New. Armor. Designs. Most excellent.

As Taylor and his team get themselves together for “The Hobbit,” it’s funny to think back and realize that this is really just their second visit to Middle-earth; the three “Lord of the Rings” films were all shot back-to-back. “The great thing now is that we have experience, which we didn’t have last time. We were going into it so green. This time, at least, we have the knowledge of what we learned last time, and hopefully we’re wise enough to learn from that.”

It’s pretty exciting to hear that. Consider: this “green” crew put together an epic trilogy which won numerous accolades, including a Best Picture Academy Award for the last movie, “Return of the King.” They did that with no experience; imagine what they’ll do now that they know.

Taylor is most looking forward to further fleshing out some of the many creatures inhabiting Middle-earth, particularly the dwarves. “The lovely thing about ’The Hobbit’ is that the race of the dwarves comes to the forefront in the story, and [we’ll depict] the uniqueness of the collection of the dwarves,” Taylor said. In the “Rings” trilogy, the only dwarf we really spend extensive time with is Gimli. In “The Hobbit,” Bilbo makes his journey with a whole group of them.’

“Gimli had an incredible presence, of course,” Taylor continued. “But he was only one character. And it’s fantastic to think that we’re going to be able to develop the dwarves to such a higher degree… the richness of their culture. The fact that through so many different dwarfs, you’ll get to appreciate their cultural differences, where they come from, them as a people.”

Taylor is also excited to be teaming with talents both familiar and unfamiliar. “We haven’t actually started fully on pre-production yet — we’re still in the design phase — but it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with a unique director in [director] Guillermo [del Toro] and continue to work with Peter [Jackson] as the producer, who is so heavily involved.”

As such, Taylor is unconcerned with any reports of production delays. Any extra time he gets, is more time to deliver an awesome product for Tolkien fans. “It’s been an unrushed period of pre-pre-[production], and that’s been a pleasure as everyone gets back into the right headspace,” he said. “As far as schedules go, you’d need to talk to someone else about that. But from our own perspective, we’re enjoying this early phase as it’s ticking along.”

What aspect of “The Hobbit” are you most looking forward to seeing realized in film?