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‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ – Produced by Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Zane Weiner

Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture

ORIGINS: After “The Lord of the Rings,” Jackson and Walsh started to explore J.R.R. Tolkien’s earlier novel and the appendices for a prequel. According to Cunningham, “Guillermo del Toro was going to (direct) it, but then it got held up (because) he had other projects.”

FUNDING: “It all came together fairly easily as the studio very much wanted to make it. What we had to do was come up with a budget that (MGM, New Line and Warners) were happy with.”

HIGH HURDLES: “Finding 13 actors to play the dwarves in an ensemble situation can be tricky, and it took a long time to cast it.”

DOMINO EFFECT: “Ian McKellen came on first, and then Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. Peter always wanted Martin Freeman for Bilbo.”

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