'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' gets its first behind-the-scenes video

Director Peter Jackson continues his tradition of filming behind-the-scenes video blogs about what's happening in production of 'The Hobbit'.

Jon Furniss/Invision/AP
'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' is directed by Peter Jackson.

The Hobbit” director Peter Jackson has some bad news and some good news for fans. On the down side, there won’t be any presentation at Comic-Con this year. But the good news is that there’s a new video blog with more behind-the-scenes secrets. 

Jackson begins the video by explaining why the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” won’t be a presence at Comic-Con (the convention held in San Diego) this year. Last year, Jackson and some of his cast members attended and presented new footage at the convention.

“We’re still shooting and we’re going to be shooting through the period of Comic-Con… there wasn’t really anybody available, I can’t go,” Jackson said.

The director says he also discounts the possibility of sending video footage of the new film to the convention because of his own busy schedule.

“I’m so busy shooting, working six days a week trying to get these pick-ups done, that every hour that I spend focusing on a really great reel for Comic-Con … would be hours spent away from the vital job of making the second and third ‘Hobbit’ films as cool as they can possibly be,” Jackson says.

The blog begins with a clip from the film in which wizards Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) are discussing recent events.

“Gandalf, if what you say is true, the world is in grave danger,” McCoy tells McKellen.

Most of the video shows behind-the-scenes work, including crew members greeting each other enthusiastically as everyone arrives for the pick-up shooting. Footage also shows crews taking covers off sets and going through props.

Stunt coordinator Glenn Boswell looks on with amusement as some of the actors, including three who play the dwarves, Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), and Stephen Hunter (Bombur), reunite with hugs and claps on the back.

“Hugs and kisses, and then we can do some fighting,” he says.

Jackson notes that the big war scene, known as the Battle of the Five Armies, that will be coming up in the third film.

“We are putting our dwarves through a very extensive training regime,” he says. “They have to be fighting fit for that battle, and so they’re working very hard at the moment.” 

Footage of the dwarves with their fake hair and beards attached, topped with sweatbands, follow, with the actors doing goofy ‘80s-style aerobicizing.

The struggles of the extras department to cast people for large scenes are also documented. 

“Out of the thirty elves we had, I have about two,” says extras casting director Victoria Beynon.

Actress Evangeline Lilly, who plays elf Tauriel, appears for the first time as part of a scene with Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and McKellen.

“Legolas Greenleaf,” McKellen greets Bloom in character, then looked over at Lilly. “And you….”

“Hi,” Lilly tells him.

“Welcome to the film,” says McKellen.

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