“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be arriving in theaters this week.
The first in Peter Jackson’s trilogy will be released this Friday, Dec. 14, though audiences of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central have already been thoroughly prepared with the news — the popular satire’s host Stephen Colbert, a self-admitted huge J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fan, dedicated the entirety of last week to the upcoming film.
Colbert, who has the ability to read Elvish, was confirmed by “a knowledgeable source” to the Hollywood Reporter in October to be making a cameo in one of the Hobbit movies, though the online publication said it wouldn’t be this upcoming one.
Instead, audiences should expect to see stars like Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, and the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Serkis.
“Hobbit Week”, the four-episode long segment pumping up audiences for the upcoming film, began with an interview with Sir Ian McKellen that aired on Dec. 3 which took place on a grassy stage following the fantasy theme of “The Hobbit”. When asked if going from Gandalf the White to Gandalf the Grey was a demotion, McKellen revealed that he actually prefers the role of Gandalf the Grey featured in “The Hobbit”.
“I never really liked Gandalf the White,” McKellen said. “He’s such a stick, you know, he’s so boring,” to which Colbert replied, “But he had fabulous hair.”
McKellen agreed, countering, “Ah, that is true, but no jokes. No smoking, no drinking.”
Colbert commented that throughout the film Gandalf seems “stoned out of his gourd,” and McKellen agreed. “I mean, can you believe it,” McKellen said. “This kid’s movie, and all the characters smoke. I love it.”
During the interview McKellen also spoke about his fans, saying, “You see that you are the sweetest, most intelligent caring people that you meet. Seriously, I went down to the ComicCon in San Diego, all the fans are there, all the geeks the nerds, so-called. I go down to see them sleeping out, waiting for our presentation the following day. They turn out to be teachers, and students, and literacy majors… and pundits.”
The interview was followed on the 4th with an interview with Martin Freeman, starring in “An Unexpected Journey” as Bilbo Baggins. Freeman spoke of some of his previous roles, including Tim on the British version of “The Office”, a role which Freeman said he was very proud of, as well as his experience with the Tolkien franchise. Freeman said he didn’t experience the “Lord of the Rings” while growing up, unlike Colbert.
“I became acquainted with Middle Earth as an adult,” Freeman said. “I knew the films — I very, very much enjoyed the films, thought they were brilliant.”
When asked what part of this depiction of Bilbo Baggins was true to Freeman, he said, “My Bilbo is sort of all of us, or what I imagine, what I would hope all of us to be, which is basically a peace-loving person who doesn’t want trouble in his life, who was wrenched out of his situation onto an adventure where he might have to kill or be killed. Which I think most of us would be quite… scared of.”
During the interview Colbert also revealed himself to be an anxious fan awaiting Series Three of one of Freeman’s other current shows, “Sherlock”, a BBC television show modernizing the popular Sir Author Conan Doyle fiction, and he urged Freeman to “get on that.”
In the show Freeman co-stars as Dr. John Watson in the popular television series alongside actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, who also happens to play Smaug the Dragon in “An Unexpected Journey”. Unfortunately for Colbert, Series Three is still expected to be out as late as 2013 or even 2014 due to upcoming projects from both actors.
The next two interviews conducted in the spirit of Colbert’s “Hobbit Week” were with Andy Serkis, who talked about the difference between “The Lord of the Rings” Gollum and “The Hobbit” Gollum, and director Peter Jackson.
All of the video interviews featured in “Hobbit Week” and other full episodes can be streamed from the show’s official website, colbertnation.com.