One shoot to rule them all—and in the darkness bind them.
Filming on the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy wrapped last Friday and somehow, during a whirlwind 20-hour workday, Peter Jackson managed to find the time to blog about the experience to his ever-devoted fans.
"Ever since starting these blogs, there's been something I thought I'd like to try one day (as well as answering the other 19 questions I owe you!)—blogging throughout a shoot day in real time. Try to give you all a feeling for what we deal with on an average day," the filmmaker wrote on the movie's Facebook page along with posting photos to commemorate the occasion.
Waking at 6:30 a.m. and after being greeted upon leaving his home by his cat, Mr. Smudge, Jackson arrived at his Wellington studios two hours later.
There, he and his crew set about finishing up shooting some complicated fight scenes featuring his band of dwarves for There and Back Again, the third and final chapter in the film series. Only instead of the normal 11-hour workday, Friday being the final day, Jackson hinted they might run late.
"Whenever we work a long day, I joke with the crew that I'm just softening them up for when Jim Cameron shows up in Wellington to shoot Avatar 2 and 3. Well ... It's not really a joke," quipped the Oscar winner.
Jackson then took fanboys through a typically busy day on The Hobbit set.
Not only did he oversee the main film unit, but he had a second "splinter unit" off shooting some green screen featuring Dwalin, the dwarf played by Graham McTavish.
Jackson also revealed the production was a bit behind schedule, forced to complete shots leftover from Thursday before they could work on what was scheduled, as well as shuttle between soundstages.
But as Tolkienites can attest, he's got a knack for making up for lost time. Not only did the Kiwi auteur supervise a slew of shots, but during breaks in between, he conducted a spotting session with composer Howard Shore, giving input regarding edited footage the latter was scoring from New York.
Jackson also confessed to being extremely excited about the musical score for the second film, The Desolation of Smaug, mostly because Shore can write entirely new sections without having to revisit parts of the score for The Lord of the Rings. Those include sequences involving Beorn, Mirkwood, the Woodland Realm, Laketown, Bard and Smaug, he said.
Among some of the more memorable photos he posted from the final day of production: actor Richard Armitage, who plays Dwarven leader Thorin Oakenshield, posing along with his two stand-ins of different sizes; Jackson mugging for the camera with Kili (Aidan Turner) and Fili (Dean O'Gorman) respectively; Jackson giving a final farewell to McTavish who just completed his final shot; and a close up of Armitage.
Production finally wrapped at around 10:30 p.m. and Jackson was home by 1 a.m. where a special surprise awaited him.
"A 20 hour day…15 years of Tolkien…771 days of shooting…And we arrive home exhausted, to a house full of teenagers!" Jackson wrote. "It's going to be a long night!"
Time to break out the pipeweed.
The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters on Dec. 13, 2013 while There And Back Again is scheduled for release Dec. 17, 2014.