Weta’s Richard Taylor on The Hobbit

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The Associated Press caught up with Weta Workshop’s Richard Taylor in Hong Kong on Monday. Weta is preparing for the start of filming on The Hobbit films.

He says he thinks “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy director Peter Jackson gave up the director’s chair to Guillermo del Toro for the two new films “because he’s spent so long in Middle Earth … and probably felt a director such as Guillermo could bring something passionate and unique and original and new to the content for the sake of the fans.”

“It’s an absolute delight to be working with Guillermo del Toro. We’ve all enjoyed his craft as seen in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the ‘Hellboy’ movies. His unique aesthetic and storytelling style brings a lovely aesthetic to the world and one we’re enjoying being part of,” Taylor added.

The Weta Workshop president said his team has started designing the landscape and characters for the two films, but that he was unclear when shooting will start in New Zealand.

“We’re just patiently waiting for it to begin. It’s been in early development for a while. I’m sure it will get going some time soon,” he said. Ian McKellen posted a note on his official site last week that filming would begin in July, but the site has changed again to now to say “at a time to be announced.”

Taylor said he will stick to a consistent look for the main characters that appear in both the “Rings” series and The Hobbit.

“Like any film, there will be an effort to utilize the tools that are available to us today to achieve visual images that will excite and intrigue an audience as we did try 10 years ago.”