One of the reasons that Peter Jackson shot his epic Lord Of The Rings films in his home country of New Zealand was to highlight the country’s stunning natural beauty. And it was generally assumed that he would be following suit for his adaptation of The Hobbit as well.
However, Elijah Wood has let something slip in an interview with Vulture that would lead us to believe that perhaps Jackson and company will be traveling to England for at least a small bit of the production. When asked when he was scheduled to film his part for The Hobbit, Wood stated –
October. I’m going to the U.K. first to do some shooting, but then I’m going down in October for the New Zealand part.
Take a moment to parse that sentence. While it could be taken as work on two different projects, the word “part” is what links the two and indicate that both shoots are for the same project.
Could Wood have misspoken? Possibly, though I don’t see any project that Wood has on his schedule that would shoot in England.
The folks over at TheOneRing are theorizing that a UK shoot might be happening to accommodate cast member Sir Christopher Lee, who at age 89 may just be getting too old to travel half way around the world to New England for filming. Lee himself expressed concerns over his health allowing him to participate in the films earlier this year. However, there is no time when Wood’s character of Frodo Baggins ever interacted with Lee’s evil wizard Saruman, so I doubt that may be the reason.
More likely is that actor Ian Holm, who played Bilbo Baggins in Lord Of The Rings, may also be too old to travel to New Zealand for filming and Wood will be shooting his scenes with him there. I am, of course, basing this on the assumption that Wood and Holm’s roles in the two Hobbit films will be serving as bookends for the main story. Admittedly that raises the question if Woods scenes are bookends with Holm, why would he need to travel to New Zealand if he was going to England to accommodate shooting with Holm?
I’m sure we’ll get an answer to this mystery sometime before the first installment of Jackson’s two-part Hobbit adaption hits theaters in December 2012.