It’s always refreshing when those involved in a film or TV show are honest and straight up about the pressures they were under and the political nature of some of these massive productions. Emotional stress, clashing personalities, in-fighting, insane scheduling, unreasonable demands and compromise are all part and parcel of this business.
Yet these things are so rarely discussed and frowned upon when they are brought up that it’s taboo in an industry famous for breaking down barriers. In terms of the public, all we get are the occasional glimpses of this such as in retrospective featurettes. From Joel Schumacher’s apology for “Batman and Robin” on the pre-Nolan Batman box-set, to the writing and producing staff of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” candidly discussing their problems with creator Gene Roddenberry and various episodes in the remastered Blu-rays, it’s rare enough that examples can be counted on one or two hands.
With the Blu-ray release of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” a new featurette has gone online and joined those ranks. While “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and almost four years of pre-production and planning, the more recent “The Hobbit” trilogy had nowhere near as much prep time – especially as around eighteen months of pre-production work was ditched after Guillermo del Toro left the film and Jackson came onboard.
Jackson, who was still finishing up on “The Adventures of Tintin,” goes as far as admitting “I started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all” while much of the crew talk about how much of these films were made up on the fly. Props and costumes often weren’t completed until the day of shooting, Jackson was doing essentially 21-hour days for months, there was often no storyboards or pre-vis, and the crew often had extended lunch breaks to give Jackson time to plan out scenes.
Thinigs came to a head with the titular five armies battle where the lack of prep meant that they couldn’t keep going, which led to the several month break during production allowed Jackson time to clear his head and plan out much of what would become the third film. Check out the piece below: