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“The Hobbit” introduces two new Gollum pictures

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There will be many of familiar “Lord of the Rings” faces present in “The Hobbit,” but the one we’re most excited to see is Gollum’s. Fortunately E! News heard our plea, because the website debuted two new images of our favorite cave-dweller in anticipation of the upcoming release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

The first image shows Andy Serkis decked out in his motion capture suit acting out a scene with Martin Freeman. The second shows the finished product of Gollum, which looks very similar to the creature we got to know in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy albeit with an updated CGI gloss. Both of these images (seen below) seem to take place in the cave where Bilbo Baggins first meets Gollum and acquires the One Ring.


These two photos will debut in the upcoming issue of Empire magazine, which focuses on the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy.

The two parts of “The Hobbit” might not be the last we see of Gollum, either. If reports are to be believed, Peter Jackson wants to make these two films into a trilogy. A source close to the deal said that a decision will be made soon, and Jackson said at Comic-Con that there’s still plenty of material to pull from.

“There are 125 pages of notes published at the back of ‘Return of the King’ in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially [Tolkien’s] expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them,” Jackson said. “We haven’t just adapted ‘The Hobbit’; we’ve adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together.”

He continued, “The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We’ve explained it using Tolkien’s own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ era and incorporate it with ‘The Hobbit.’”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is due out on December 14, with “The Hobbit: There And Back Again” hitting theaters on December 13, 2013. A third movie would likely come out on December 2014.

What do you think of these new images of Gollum? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Peter Jackson to make “The Hobbit” a trilogy?

The Hobbit

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It seems like Peter Jackson wants a prequel trilogy to match his Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” series. After splitting his adaptation of “The Hobbit” into two films that were fleshed out by the Appendixes at the end of “The Return of the King,” Jackson is now petitioning Warner Bros. to let him do a third.

A source tells The Hollywood Reporter that a third film would only require two more months of filming in New Zealand next summer and new deals to be written up with the actors involved. It’s a guaranteed profit for WB based on the success of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the buzz for “The Hobbit,” so we’d be surprised if they pass it up. Apparently we’ll know for sure soon.

“If we’re going to do it, we have to make a decision soon,” the source said. “It’s strongly driven by the filmmaker’s desire to tell more of the story.”

The idea was first introduced when Jackson told fans at Comic-Con that he wants to shoot some more footage for Bilbo Baggins’ big adventure. According to an interview he had with Deadline, there’s about 125 more pages of material that he could pull from for a third movie.

“There are 125 pages of notes published at the back of ‘Return of the King’ in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially [Tolkien’s] expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them,” Jackson said. “We haven’t just adapted ‘The Hobbit'; we’ve adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together.”

He continued, “The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We’ve explained it using Tolkien’s own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ era and incorporate it with ‘The Hobbit.'”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is due out on December 14, with “The Hobbit: There And Back Again” hitting theaters on December 13, 2013. A third movie would likely come out on December 2014.

Would you want a third “Hobbit” movie? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

“The Hobbit” films wrap production

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Just like that, without much hoopla or fanfare, “The Hobbit” films have wrapped production.

It’s hard to believe that this is the second time in his life that director Peter Jackson has finished an epic adaptation of some of J.R.R. Tolkein’s most beloved material. He seems to be in a bit of shock too, judging by the way he made his announcement.

“We made it!” he posted to Facebook. “Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on ‘The Hobbit.’ Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!”

It will be interesting to see what Jackson brings to San Diego next week. Hopefully he’ll present some 48 fps footage so he can test what a very hyped yet layman audience thinks of the style of filmmaking.

Also, fingers crossed for some new footage. We’ve already seen one trailer for the movie, but that was back in December so we’re due for another one. The Warner Bros. panel is a good two and a half hours long, so hopefully a hefty bit of “The Hobbit” is shown there.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hits theaters on December 14. The movie follows titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with a group of adventurous dwarves and the wizard Gandalf to the Lonely Mountain to retrieve some treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner, among many, many others.

The film’s sequel, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is set to be released on December 13, 2013.

What scene are you most looking forward to seeing in “The Hobbit”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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