Peter-JacksonThe Lord of the Rings franchise was just slightly too early for the use of 3D technology, a format that has since become almost a given as far as big Hollywood blockbusters are concerned. And any such talk of a conversion into the popular format was quashed at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey press conference, by the man behind the entire project, Peter Jackson.

It’s been over a decade since the first Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit our screens, and although using 3D technology and the much-discussed 48 frames per second technique, Jackson admits it’s unlikely he’ll ever return to the former franchise and work on a 3D conversion, despite talking up three-dimensional technology.

“You can obviously convert old films into 3D now, that technology does exist, but you know, I don’t know if that will happen, we’ve vaguely talked about it with the studio, but there’s no plans to do that at this stage,” he said.

“As a director I’ve always been somebody who tries to transport you from your seat to the adventure on the screen, in other words I don’t just want to treat the audience as observers to something being projected on the screen, but I like the sense of involvement, it’s why my natural directing style involves wider angle lenses because that has more of a sense of involvement.

“So for me 3D is just something that can enhance that experience. I think 3D technology is going to improve, and certainly what needs to improve is the projection of 3D in a sense that you put the glasses on and the light levels drop and I know that when I see 3D movies that’s always a frustrating thing, but hopefully that’s only got a year or so to go before the laser projectors come in, which is the next generation of projection.”

Jackson had lots to say on the state of the industry at present, and how he sees the immediate future for film, as a director always wanting to push the boundaries of the cinematic experience.

We’re at a time when cinema audiences are dwindling, and I just think as an industry we have to be looking at what we can do to increase and enhance the experience of going to the cinema,” he continued. “We need to be looking at all the technology available and how we can make the experience more immersive, more magical and more spectacular. Because movies are the occasion of going out with friends, being in a dark room full of strangers and sitting in front of this huge screen with incredible picture and sound, and being transported, it’s escapist entertainment, and that’s what I love about cinema.”

Jackson also pays his respects to those that help make his dreams become a reality.

I grew up with my mum and dad’s movie camera, making spaceships out of cardboard and rubber monsters, doing stop motion, and the fact that I am doing what I’m doing today is not because it’s a profession or a job, but because it’s a hobby and I’m not by myself as I was being an only child, I’ve got the most incredible family around me of skilled artists who help me and anything that I’m imagining in my head, we have the skills and technology and artists to be able to put it on film, so I’m very lucky.”

When discussing both technology and The Hobbit in the same breath, you can’t not mention the character of Gollum, using actor Andy Serkis and motion capture to help form the CGI role – and it’s one that Serkis is thrilled to take on once again.

It was fantastic to come back and rekindle my relationship with Gollum, and play out one of my favourite scenes Tolkien wrote for him with Martin, and it was the first scene we shot in the movie,” he said.

“One of the great things about this role is that he is very complicated, you feel sorry for him, for pity him, you hate him…. He has a weak personality by definition, but it was important to find something very real to him in this day and age, and for me it was all about addiction, Gollum is entirely based on addiction.”

Finally set for release after we’ve all spent much time deliberating over the franchise, with rumours and news items keeping us busy for the past year or so, it appears the world is finally ready to delve into Middle Earth again, and Jackson tells of his excitement at finally offering his project to the big bad world.

It’s always exciting when the film is about to be released, because you spend two or three years making it and obviously trying to preserve the secrets of the movie and focus on getting the film made, and there comes a time when you have to hand the film over to the whole world, and in our case, 25 thousand cinemas around the world. I’m looking forward to it. We’re in the entertainment business and we make these films to entertain people, so this is the whole point really, to get it out there.”

Meanwhile, James Nesbitt – who plays dwarf Bofur – also admits to his delight at taking part in an experience the Irish actor will no doubt cherish forever.

The Hobbit is essentially about this Hobbit and thirteen dwarves who go on this journey, and as actors we got the opportunity to go on this journey together, to grow together and get to know each other, to enter Peter’s Middle Earth – this vast, extraordinary world.”

And amidst rumours that The Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen would sleep with his horse companion at night – in order to build a rapport between the two – Nesbitt responded with, “Well I kept asking my horse but he kept saying no…” Unlucky, James.

Also on the panel at the press conference were; Philippa Boyens (Producer), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) Richard Armitage (Thorin), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Adam Brown (Ori), Aidan Turner (Kili), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Jed Brophy (Nori), John Callen (Oin), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), William Kircher (Bifur) and Ken Stott (Balin).