Peter Jackson Says Smaug Fans Will Not Walk Away from Desolation Disappointed
There And Back Again
There’s one thing we all know about modern monster movies, and that is that you can never really know whether they’re going to let you get a good look at the monster. Are they going to tease it in the trailers and then reveal it early on? Or just keep teasing you with it the whole movie? Are you going to get one quick reveal before it slides back into the shadows, or will you actually be able to appreciate the design work that went into it without pausing the film?
The way Peter Jackson is talking about Smaug these days, it sounds like we’ll be getting a nice eyefull of Smaug the Terrible this weekend.
The director talked about the challenge that he, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens had in bringing Smaug to the big screen. How to make the most famous fairy tale dragon seem properly impressive when so many cinematic dragons have come before him? They immediately rejected the idea of making him something other than the classic four-legged, winged serpent, “That would be a silly thing to do. He’s a dragon and he has to have a classical kind of dragon feel to him… I thought, ‘What is it about a dragon that would surprise people? What is that people wouldn’t be expecting?’”
From what he tells Entertainment Weekly, it seems that the answer they found was to make him a character with real personality, not just a stomping, fire-breathing monster, and, well, to make him very, very large. Jackson calls him the “‘Hannibal Lecter’ of the dragon world,” for the mind games he plays with Bilbo.
We took the approach that Smaug is a paranoid psychopath. He has a lust for gold, but it’s a lust that he can’t explain. He’s not like a normal person who wants wealth for all the trappings of fast cars and yachts. Smaug doesn’t have any of that, the poor guy. For 200 years, he’s been there on this pile of gold waiting for someone to come, just sitting there doing crossword puzzles and catching up on Breaking Bad seasons on Netflix. He hasn’t got much else to do.
I’m going to assume that Smaug’s got some kind of projector set up, otherwise that’s a lot of time spent squinting at a screen the size of your own nostril.
(via Entertainment Weekly.)
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