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Elijah Wood talks returning to the Shire and filming “The Hobbit” in 3D

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It’s not a surprise that many “The Lord of the Rings” cast members were more than happy to return to Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth in the upcoming “The Hobbit,” even if it was just for a quick cameo appearance. The best example of that is Elijah Wood, who played main character Frodo Baggins in Jackson’s first trilogy, but has a much smaller role in the two “The Hobbit” films.

Wood recently spoke with Collider about his return to the Shire, and had some interesting thoughts about shooting the movie in 3D at 48 frames per second. The biggest change for him was the ability to see what they shot immediately after a take because the movie has been filmed digitally.

“I was on set for ‘The Hobbit,’ in [director] Peter [Jackson]’s little tent where he has the monitor that he watches, you’re watching it in 3D. That is amazing, but at the same time, you’re like, “Oh, okay, that’s what we’re doing here,” Wood said. “It’s an odd sense of just tuning into it and accepting it, but it’s totally amazing. And, it’s really cool to see the 3D on set, and to know what the images ultimately look like. The technology is so good now.”

While production on the two “Hobbit” films will go until June, Wood has already finished his part. He said that, because his role is so small, he has the ability to be objective about the upcoming movies, and thus his enthusiasm for their releases is untainted by his involvement.

“I’m excited to see it, as a fan. I don’t have the months and months of months of hard work and experience on the films, and deep knowledge as to what they’re filming, on a day-to-day basis. I have my own little bit, and then everything is going to be a surprise. I was so pumped to see the trailer,” he said.

It’s been particularly endearing to hear Wood speak in interviews about the many years that have passed since he first entered “The Lord of the Rings” set as a 19-year-old, and how nice it was to be able to return now that he’s 30. Wood told Collider who being back in Hobbiton “put a lot of things into perspective” in his life.

“It was just beautiful to go back. I only worked a small amount when I was there. I was there for a month, and the majority of my time was just going to set every day and meeting a lot of the new cast members, catching up with old friends, and being in Wellington again,” he said. “It feels like home, and those people feel like extended family to me. It was such a treat to go back. It was awesome!”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hits theaters on December 14, and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is due out on December 13, 2013.

Are you as excited for “The Hobbit” as Wood is? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Bourne

Bourne to Run

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Bourne Movies

Catch The Bourne Ultimatum this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

You know his name, as the Super Bowl teaser for the upcoming summer blockbuster Jason Bourne reminded us. In this era of franchise films, that seems to be more than enough to get another entry in the now 15-year-old series greenlit. And gosh darn it if we aren’t into it. Before you catch The Bourne Ultimatum on IFC, here are some surprising facts about the Bourne movies that you may not know. And unlike Jason Bourne, try not to forget them.


10. Matt Damon was a long shot to play Jason Bourne.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Coming off of Good Will Hunting and The Legend of Bagger Vance, early ’00s Matt Damon didn’t exactly scream “ripped killing machine.” In fact, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and even Sylvester Stallone were all offered the part before it fell into the hands of the Boston boy made good. It was his enthusiasm for director Doug Liman’s more frenetic vision that ultimately helped land him the part.


9. Love interest Marie was almost played by Sarah Polley.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Damon wasn’t the only casting surprise. Franka Potente, of Run Lola Run fame, wasn’t the filmmaker’s first choice for the role or Marie in The Bourne Identity. In fact, Liman wanted his Go star Sarah Polley for the part, but she turned it down in favor of making indie movies back in Canada. A quick rewrite changed the character from American Marie Purcell to European Marie Helena Kreutz, and the rest is movie history.


8. Director Doug Liman was obsessed with the Bourne books.

Universal Picutres

Universal Pictures

Liman had long been a fan of the Bourne book series. When Warner Bros.’ rights to the books lapsed in the late ’90s, Liman flew himself to author Robert Ludlum’s Montana home, mere days after earning his pilot’s license. The author was so impressed with his passion for the material, he sold the rights on the spot.


7. Liman’s father actually worked for the NSA.

Universal Picutres

Universal Pictures

Part of Liman’s fasciation with the Bourne series was that his own father played the same spy craft games portrayed in the books while working for the NSA. In fact, many of the Treadstone details were taken from his father’s own exploits, and Chris Cooper’s character, Alex Conklin, was based on Oliver Stone, whom Arthur Liman famously cross examined as chief counsel of the Iran-Contra hearings.


6. Tony Gilroy threw the novel’s story out while writing The Bourne Identity.

Universal Picutres

Universal Picutres

Despite being based on a hit book, screenwriter Tony Gilroy, coming off of The Devil’s Advocate, had no idea how to adapt it into a movie. He said the book was more concerned with people “running to airports” than character, and would need a complete rewrite. Director Doug Liman agreed, and Gilroy claims to have condensed the original novel into the first five minutes. Getting that out of the way, he then wrote his own story, based on a man who wakes up one day not remembering anything but how to kill.


5. Damon walked like a boxer to get into character.

Universal Picutres

Universal Picutres

Damon had never played a character like Bourne before, and was searching for a way to capture his physicality. Doug Liman told him to walk like a boxer to give Jason Bourne an edge. Damon took that to heart, training for six months in boxing, marital arts and firearms.


4. Damon broke an actor’s nose.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Damon’s training for the films is legendary, but mistakes still happen. While filming a scene for The Bourne Ultimatum, Damon hit actor Tim Griffin so hard, he shattered his nose. Apparently, the space the scene was filmed in was smaller than originally intended, throwing Damon off just enough to exert a real beat down.


3. James Bond visited The Bourne Legacy set.

Eon Productions

Eon Productions

Actor Daniel Craig stopped by the set of The Bourne Legacy to visit his wife, actress Rachel Weisz, who was starring in the movie. While having James Bond on a Bourne set must have been exciting, The Bourne Legacy was the only Bourne movie to not actually feature Jason Bourne, meaning our bets on who would kick whose ass would have to wait for another day.


2. The Bourne Identity was nearly a bomb (in the box office sense).

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

As reshoots began to pile up, and an all-out war between the studio and director Doug Liman spilled into the press, expectations were that The Bourne Identity was going to flop. Matt Damon told GQ that, “the word on Bourne was that it was supposed to be a turkey…It’s very rare that a movie comes out a year late, has four rounds of reshoots, and it’s good.”


1. Matt Damon wasn’t the first actor to play Bourne.

Warner Brothers Television

Warner Brothers Television

Aired on ABC in 1988, the TV movie adaptation of The Bourne Identity, while not exactly critically acclaimed, was a more faithful version of Ludlum’s book. Richard Chamberlain, of The Thorn Birds fame, played a much less ass-kicking spy, while “Charlie’s Angel” Jaclyn Smith played love interest Marie. If you like your Bourne movies heavy with poorly lit ’80s melodrama, this might just be the adaptation for you. Otherwise, you should catch The Bourne Ultimatum when it airs this month on IFC.

“The Hobbit” new still puts Martin Freeman in Mirkwood Forest

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So far, the only proof we’ve had that “The Hobbit” films will include some serious bad-assery was the series of images released that introduced audiences to the series’ battle-ready dwarves.

That’s why the new image released by The Los Angeles Times is such a breath of fresh air. The previous images and trailer released tended to focus on the light-hearted, colorful, kid-friendly aspects of the story, while this new still switches gears. Seemingly taking place after Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) has used his sword Sting for the first time in Mirkwood Forest, the photo is dark, dirty and gritty, just like elements of “The Hobbit.”

“The story is very much a children’s story so deciding how to tell this was one of the first things we had to do,” co-writer and producer Philippa Boyens said in an interview with the Times. “It is very distinctly different, tonally, to ‘Lord of the Rings’ until the very end and then you begin to see the world of Middle-earth opening up.”

Apparently the key to keeping the two separate in the minds of the viewers was focusing on what makes “The Hobbit” different from “The Lord of the Rings,” instead of what makes them similar.

“We felt that it is the same audience [who will come to see the films] and then you start to worry because it is easy to repeat yourself. It is quite a similar journey, you’re going from the Shire to a large, dangerous mountain,” she said.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hits theaters on December 14. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner, among many, many others.

What do you think of the shift in tone in this new image? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

New “Prometheus,” “The Avengers,” “The Hobbit” pictures hit the web

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Today you can thank USA Today for officially getting you stoked for the film slate in 2012. The newspaper got their hands on a ton of new stills from some of the 12 movies they think fans should be most excited for in the new year. Fortunately, we couldn’t agree with them more.

Arguably the coolest picture is for “The Bourne Legacy,” which offers a first look at Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in the continuation of Matt Damon’s “Bourne” trilogy. Other than looking angry and severe in the image, there’s not too much we can gather from it about the movie. Still, we’re glad just to have something to start hyping the film’s August 3 release date.

The media gallery also includes new images for “The Avengers,” “Prometheus,” “The Hobbit,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Brave.” The “Prometheus” one offers a clear look at Noomi Rapace in the film. And just was is it that she’s holding in her hand?

“The Avengers” image is a variation on the many shots we’ve seen of Captain American and Thor released over the past few months. The superhero duo are in the middle of a big battle in New York City, though we can’t help but wonder where Iron Man and Hulk are during all of this.

Rounding out the big new releases, “The Hobbit” still features Martin Freeman looking, well, like a hobbit. His hairy feet and pointed ears might not be the most flattering aspects of his new look, but at least we can give him props for his sense of style. Seriously, can it be December 14 already? The next 11 months can’t fly by fast enough.

The still from “Snow White and the Huntsman” continues to showcase Charlize Theron as the real reason to be excited for this film. She looks fantastically evil here on her throne as the appropriately titled Evil Queen. And the “Brave” image is similar to the shot we’ve seen in the trailer of Merida and her family discussing some of their favorite Scottish legends.

Which of these new pictures is your favorite? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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