More dispatches from Middle Earth

Peter Jackson recently flew in to the States for the Sundance Film Festival where he promoted the documentary West of Memphis.

However, he quickly flew back to New Zealand for more work on The Hobbit, which is scheduled to wrap up in July, with the first part hitting theaters in December 2012.  

Meanwhile, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis have been talking about their experiences on The Hobbit set in New Zealand.

As Wood told Collider, there’s “more trucks now and more trailers, and the production feels larger in scale,” in part because The Hobbit’s being shot in 3D. 

“Years and years and years ago, video assist was really rudimentary and watching playback was so rudimentary. It only gave you a sense of what the image was really going to look like,” Wood said.  

“Now, because The Hobbit is being shot digitally, we’re seeing a full HD image, in 3D, pretty much exactly as it’s going to look when it’s thrown up onto a big screen. That’s amazing!” 

Wood also added, “It was gift to go back and return. I turned 19 in Hobbiton. I’m 30 now. That put a lot of things into perspective.”

Andy Serkis, who has been the center of serious Oscar buzz for his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is also back playing Gollum, and as he told the L.A. Times, “Gollum’s never really gone too far away from me because he’s indelibly printed into my DNA. What was weird is going back and playing a character that has been so absorbed into public consciousness that you almost feel like you don’t own it anymore… Getting back into it was really exciting.”

And seemingly every time Serkis is interviewed, the topic of motion capture inevitably comes up. 

“In terms of animation, animators are actors as well. They have to draw from how they feel emotionally about the beat of a scene that they’re working on,” Serkis told the Times. 

“In my mind, it is a form of digital makeup. [Performance capture is] such a liberating tool. As long as you have the acting chops and the desire to get inside a character, you can play anything.”