From The Hobbit to West of Memphis

On the weekend of January 20th, the big story in Hollywood is always the Sundance Film Festival, where producers, agents and studios race to pick up the next hot movie sensation before anyone else. 

Peter Jackson made an appearance for the premiere of the documentary West of Memphis, which he helped finance, but then had to fly back to New Zealand that night where of course he’s working hard on the The Hobbit.

The first installment of the two-part film will be coming out this December, and Jackson told the Hollywood Reporter the film’s on schedule. Still, flying back from Sundance he was headed right back to the editing room.

The shoot will resume next month, and there’s yet another hundred days of shooting ahead before production wraps up in July.

It’s probably a pretty safe bet that with The Hobbit, Jackson will pick up right where he left off with LOTR in terms of sheer geek quality. 

When The Hobbit trailer recently went live, The Christian Science Monitor dubbed it “a testament to the best qualities of Peter Jackson’s filmmaking, from weaving together various J.R.R. Tolkien tales to the signature look of the film.”

Of course, in addition to his duties on The Hobbit, Jackson was also a major force behind getting the West Memphis Three freed from jail. For those unfamiliar with the case, it was the subject of the documentary Paradise Lost, and it told the story of three young kids who were accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

They were finally freed last year, and as Deadline reports, new evidence may be surfacing that could potentially settle who’s guilty once and for all.

In trying to free the West Mephis Three, Henry Rollins also worked behind the scenes to help, and Metallica allowed their music to be used in Paradise Lost, the definitive documentary about the case – the first time they permitted their tunes to be used in any movie.

Jackson felt somewhat of an affinity for the West Memphis Three case because as he told the Associated Press, “I was bullied and regarded as a little bit of an oddball myself. And I see that happening to somebody else, so I just want to help them.”