Footage has emerged online which shows Peter Jackson admitting that he was ‘winging it’ on the set of 'The Hobbit’ movies, because he was left with no time for pre-production.
The searingly honest video, which looks like it may have come from the special edition of 'The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’, popped up on Reddit - having been posted on YouTube yesterday - and has now started circulating among fans, provoking much discussion.
“It was impossible,” says Jackson, talking about taking over the movie from Guillermo del Toro, who exited the movie after spending a year and a half prepping it over delays to production from producers MGM.
“And as a result of it being impossible, I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all.
“You’re winging it. Nothing to go on, no storyboards, no pre-vis, you’ve got these massively complicated scenes and you’re just making it up, there and then, on the spot.
“If I was a director who hadn’t had that 25 years of experience doing this in the past, it just would have been almost impossible.
“We’d just tell the crew to take an extended lunch for an hour or so, because I wanted to just get my head completely clear and just plot it through.
“I spent so much of 'The Hobbit’ feeling like I was not on top of it. The fact that I’d had not much prep, and I was making it up as I went along.”
Jackson, who looks physically exhausted in the footage – and became ill, having to take six weeks off, according to one crew-member – even adds that they didn’t have finished scripts, adding to the 'high pressure situation’.
With some of the battle scenes, Andy Serkis, who was also a second unit director as well as playing Golum in the movies, admits: “Nothing had been formulated at all. We were waving around in the wind, really.”
Weta Workshop’s creative director Richard Taylor also details the extent of how behind itself the production was.
“You’re laying tracks directly in front of the train, and that chased us all the way to the end,” he said.
“Almost every morning of the shoot, we’d be delivering the objects needed that day. There was none of the taking wonderful photographs in front of racks of armour completed a year before production as we did in 'Lord of the Rings’.
“There was three-and-a-half years of pre-production before we rolled the cameras.”
Ultimately, it was one complex battle scene which tipped the balance, leading Jackson to call the studio and take a break from production to work things out.
The clip has clearly upset a few fans, though.
“This is so unfortunate… a real shame,” said one, another adding: “This explains so much .”
But others are more sympathetic towards Jackson.
“Peter Jackson looks like he had the life sucked out of him in these interviews. I hope he is doing okay healthwise,” said one.
Added another: “I honestly just feel really bad for him watching this. I was hugely disappointed by The Hobbit films, but I’ve never doubted PJ’s commitment to the fans, and his love of the material.”
The special edition of 'The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’ is out now.
Image credits: YouTube/MGM