Exclusive: How Dwarves caused problems on Hobbit set

Mark Lankester
Movies Blog
18 December 2012

Peter Jackson has spoken of his love/hate relationship with the 13 dwarves in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey', but finally realised that "instead of being too many dwarves, there's not enough".

[Related story: Hobbit stars on green screen frustrations]
[Related story: Hobbit mockbuster changes its name]

We spoke to the daring Kiwi director about what challenges came with such a large group of main characters (all of whom had beards), and asked some of the now scaled-up band how they found becoming Tolkein's dwarves.

Watch the video below.

The director previously had concerns about shooting such a large group. There were technical issues - they were smaller than the human characters, so had to be shot on separate sets or with false perspective. It also created narrative problems: could audiences tell the difference between the heavily bearded posse?

"[In the beginning] all I could imagine was 13 Gimlis," Jackson admitted [Gimli was the Dwarf in 'The Lord of the Rings'], "I just thought 'my god that's a big ensemble.' Then when we came to write the script and develop the screenplays we released that some actual comedy can be gotten from Bilbo interacting with these dwarves."

And story-wise, 13 of the sturdy fellas probably was not enough: "They're literally going to fight a dragon. There really needed to be an army of them."

"In fact they're such a small band trying to achieve such a lot. Once you start looking at the story from that angle I started to embrace it more."

There was a definite brand of middle-earth moral that bonded the dwarves, something Martin Freeman, who plays lone-hobbit Bilbo Baggins, laughed about:

"I don't think I was fully part of the gang" said Freeman, explaining how the process of "becoming dwarves" left him out of the group as the 13 became the centre of attention. Not only did they go through rigorous make-up, and costume sessions together, but also what the actor described as "about half an hour of just having s**t put on them."

"[The crew are] messing with them. You know, just kind of little bottles knives, you know just all the stuff… they're fiddling with dwarves!"

James Nesbitt and Aidan Turner, who played Bofur and Kili, told us they had to visit 'Dwarf Bootcamp' before the pic shoot, which featured horse riding, singing and dwarf movement classes. "Lots of crazy stuff", Turner said.

For Richard Armitage, who plays the Dwarves leader, Thorin Oakenshield, the biggest challenge was the bulky restrictions of playing a dwarf: "When I saw the character breakdown it said you may have to wear some prosthetics," he smirked.

"It became extensive, and nobody really knew what all of the costume, the face, the hair, the weapon, would do to a human body over a long period of time. It did become quite an endurance test.

You're thinking 'How am I even going to be able to walk, let alone act this role?' But it's amazing how quickly your brain puts that aside and you focus on the task in hand."

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is in cinemas now

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Missed Open Enrollment? You can still buy Medigap!

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period isn't the only time to buy Medigap coverage. You can actually buy at any time of the year.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

7 Cards You Can't Ignore If You Have Great Credit

Banks are offering insane credit card offers to people with great credit. Take advantage of a $625 intro bonus, 21 month 0% APR and 6% cash back.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Looking for a Perfect Hair Styling Tool?

Go for this all-in-one hair styler brush, built on ionic technology and gentle ceramic heating. Curl, straighten, add volume and shine instantly.

This $625 Intro Bonus Is Insane

A leading credit card issuer just raised its intro bonus to an industry-leading $500 cash or $625 in travel. And no annual fee the first year.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military - Takes 1 Min!

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.