That a movie of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit is in production has been known for some time, but what I didn't realize is that the plans are for not one but two movies. The first, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", will open in December 2012 (as will, incidentally, a movie of Life of Pi). The second, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again", will open in December 2013.
It will be interesting to see how the director strings out The Hobbit, a rather short and simple story compared to The Lord of the Rings, into two movies.I'm also intrigued to see how the actors who are reprising their roles from the "Lord of the Rings" (filmed a decade ago) will manage to handle the aging process.
Fortunately, being elves who barely age, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving (Legolas, Galadriel and Elrond) can probably get away with just not looking any older than they did ten years ago. The aging of wizards is a law unto itself so no huge worries about Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee (Gandalf and Saruman).
But the biggest mystery is the recasting of Elijah Wood in the role as Frodo. Or more accurately why the role of Frodo has been cast at all?
My recollection of The Hobbit is not as strong as it could be, but I thought there was about sixty years between Bilbo and Frodo.
In the movies Frodo is clearly a young man with a substantial age gap between him and his uncle. In the books, when Bilbo celebrates his 111th party, isn't Frodo just coming of age in his thirties? And when he sets off on his adventures, isn't he about 50 years old, the same age as Bilbo was when he went adventuring?
In either case, surely Frodo wouldn't even have been born at the beginning of The Hobbit and therefore it's a significant stretch to cast the role at all?
Am I missing something obvious?
More to the point, why does this bother me so much?
Perhaps it's because I love the LOTR movies even more than the books and I really want "The Hobbit" movies to be a success. But creating two movies out of one book and casting roles for the not-yet-born makes me worry!