Interview by Kara Warner
For those who have been keeping tabs on the comings and goings surrounding Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” there is a unique level of excitement building around the film. The die-hard Jackson fans and “Lord of the Rings” loyalists are eager to see anything helmed by the Oscar-winner, particularly when it involves a faithful adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved book, which has a different tone and fanbase from “LOTR.”
This excitement level is not just for fans like us, but everyone involved with the production as well. When MTV News caught up with rising star Benedict Cumberbatch recently, who is playing not one but two roles in the film, he was full of praise for Jackson as well as his friend/co-star Martin Freeman.
“I was very lucky [to work] with Pete,” Cumberbatch told us at Elton John’s Oscar-viewing party. “As far as the experience, what an extraordinary one it was because at the time I was in my work; I was in isolation with him and this incredible tag team. And at the very cool place with that technology doing mo-cap for two characters, Smaug the dragon and another character, which will remain nameless, and it was an awful lot of fun.”
Cumberbatch went on to say that he hasn’t seen any finished shots from the film since he worked mainly by himself doing voice-over work and movements for the characters.
“It’s a sort of wonderful ongoing process,” he said. “I spent a lot of time recording voice as well as doing movements. So, it was sort of freeing; it was fun. It was like playing a game. It’s going to be an amazing film; it’s going to be a real treat. I watched ‘The Lord of the Rings’ again before I started working, and the way those films grow in depth of craft on every level are extraordinary. Their mark is for that.”
The “War Horse” actor admitted that the only trouble he had while on set was keeping a straight face when he saw his friend and “Sherlock” co-star Martin Freeman in costume as lovable Hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
“It was great. I got to hang out with him, and I kept a straight face for a bit and then I started giggling because I know Martin, I don’t know Bilbo,” Cumberbatch said with a grin. “For Martin to be sitting there playing Bilbo is amazing. He’s going to be amazing, he’s going to be fantastic in this film.”