Let’s talk about some of your other projects. The third installment of ‘The Hobbit’ is coming later this year. Are you a big Tolkien fan?


You said before ‘Desolation of Smaug’ came out that you were apprehensive about how people might receive your character because she isn’t part of the original canon. Looking back at that now, how do you feel about the reactions from fans?

I don’t know if I’m just living in a bubble, or with my head in the sand, but I have experienced mostly only positive reactions to Tauriel. I have heard the tiniest grumblings from the odd troll online, but for the most part she was really well received and people were really glad to have some feminine energy in the films. It’s nine hours of entertainment; it’s kind of tough to watch hairy, short men for all that time. I also think that she added an element of the feminine spirit, which is humanity and compassion, that I think was a little bit needed.

That story, that book as we all know, is one children’s story. It’s not an extremely sophisticated story, and it doesn’t have a ton of layers – nor does it have a ton of character development. So when you start developing out those characters, you start to have to elaborate on their motivations, and the motivation of 90% of the characters in that book is greed, selfishness, pride.

And revenge.

Revenge! There’s so few good and true intentions in those male characters. I think it was a little bit of an emotional relief and release to watch those films and suddenly hear somebody say, “We just have to do what’s right.”

And what can we expect from her in ‘Battle of the Five Armies’?

Everything with everyone’s storyline in the third film is going to boil to a head. Things get very intense. It’s going to be the darkest out of the three films, and I think it’s the one that will resemble most the original Lord of the Rings films. Of course, it’s entitled the Battle of the Five Armies, so there’s a big, epic battle, and it’s good and evil coming to a head as it always is in Tolkien’s storybooks.

And it’s no different for Tauriel. What’s great is you’ll get the answer to the big romantic question. Does she love an elf, does she love a dwarf, does she not love either one of them? Ultimately Tauriel, at the bottom of it all, is a hero. She starts out as a hero, and she ends as a hero. I think she has a great story.

Intriguing. But speaking of that love triangle, there was also a little apprehension on your part about that?

Oh there was more than a little apprehension.

How are you feeling about it now?

Before I agreed to take the role, it was the only stipulation I laid down: no love triangles. I did one for six years, I am done. And there wasn’t. In the original script, there wasn’t. In the original shooting, there wasn’t. We shot for a year and there was no love triangle. And then we came back for reshoots, and this little surprise was dropped in our laps.

“The relationship between Tauriel and these male characters is a bit too ambiguous, and it’s a bit confusing, and we’re not really understanding what’s what. We need to make it a little clearer and a little bit more obvious for our audience, and therefore we’re going to turn something that was subtle, and delicate, and beautiful into a bit more of an obvious love triangle.” I just went, “No!” But I actually didn’t drop to my knees and cry, I actually understood. Because when we were filming, I was getting frustrated, because I was feeling like it was not clear.

I knew as an audience member, it was just going to be annoying. They’re just going to be annoyed with these characters because it’s not clear – it’s not clear what is her relationship to Legolas, and what is her relationship to Kili, and what is this all about? If it’s confusing, it’s really obnoxious. Love triangles get a bit obnoxious even if they’re clear, but when they’re not, it’s even more obnoxious, so I understood why they had to do it.

And you’re feeling okay about it now?

Yeah, I’m feeling fine about it. I don’t think it’s the most shining part of the film, and I don’t think it’s necessarily – I’m going to get lynched for saying this – but it’s not totally Tolkien. I know he has written love triangles in some of the later works that he wrote. In the end, it is what it is. I don’t focus too much on it because it’s a tiny part of the story. And it’s a tiny part of her story.

Okay, and I have to ask: you’re rumoured to be playing the female lead in ‘Ant-Man?’

I can’t say anything.

But you’re staying at Comic-Con through Sunday?

Yeah. I’ll be here four days, and then I go off to do Hobbit ADR for Battle of the Five Armies.

Have you seen the final ‘The Hobbit’ film yet?

No, I’ll see parts of it – probably all of my parts because Peter Jackson notoriously ADRs almost everything. I’ll get to see the majority of all of my work on Monday and Tuesday when I’ll be doing ADR. Then I wait, and I don’t see the completed film until I’m sitting at the theatre at the premiere. I like that movie going experience, when you go with people who are excited to see it, and they’re laughing, and clapping, and gasping.

When you’re watching the screener that they show the actors so that they can talk to the press, you’re in the room with a bunch of people who are extremely self-conscious, and terrified of whether or not they did a good job, all watching themselves for the first time and it is very tense. It’s not fun. I don’t go to those screenings, I wait until the premiere and then you’re there with people who love it and are excited. It’s way more relaxed.

So you spend months answering questions about-

A film I’ve never seen! Yeah! But I’m a good bluffer, that’s what I do for a living.

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ will be released on December 17, 2014

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Starz has decided that their original programming can compete with the other hot shows airing on Sunday nights.

Network CEO Chris Albrecht has told THR that they are planning on moving all of their original shows including Outlander, Ash Vs Evil Dead, and Black Sails — which currently air on Saturdays — to Sundays. The move will begin July 17 with the Starz series Power. Outlander will likely not move to Sundays until next season.

“Sundays are a prestige night and we feel our shows are definitely going to be very competitive, not just in viewership but in the attention-getting business on Sundays,” Albrecht said to THR, “So it made sense to move.”

Outlander and Starz’s other original series will be going up against tough competition, including AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Albrecht says part of the reason he wanted to move the shows was to make sure they were part of the watercooler talk on Monday mornings.

THR notes that Showtime’s original series typically get DVR’d, “growing 214 percent [in viewership] during the course of a week.” This would suggest that a lot of people aren’t sitting in front of a TV on Saturdays and want to watch the shows on a different day of the week. So, moving their programming to Sundays may not impact overall viewership numbers much.

Starz recently overtook Showtime as the second-most subscribed to cable channel. HBO still sits at number one, though all three are facing tough competition from Netflix.

Disney has set its sights on another live-action retelling of an animated classic: The Little Mermaid.

Deadline reports that the studio “recently heard a new take and are currently evaluating whether to proceed with the idea,” and “discussions have also taken place with some major producers, including some with a strong connection to the studio.”

That’s all we know for now. A “new take” makes it sound like they could be contemplating an alternate story than the one we saw in the 1989 animated classic, but I’d personally prefer a direct adaptation. I want to see live-action Ariel sing some of the Disney classics! Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book has spoiled me.

Like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid is one of Disney’s most beloved animated movies, so expectations for a live-action adaptation will immediately be set very high. With their recent adaptation of The Jungle Book hitting theaters to very positive reviews and the first trailer for their live-action Beauty and the Beast being very well received, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Disney start to look at other potential animated properties for source material. (But you would’ve expected to hear about a live-action Lion King before Little Mermaid after The Jungle Book’s success, wouldn’t you?)

The Little Mermaid is the latest in a long line of animated-to-live action projects in the works at Disney. Others include an Aladdin spinoff looking at the Genie’s origins, The Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson, Dumbo with director Tim Burton, Mary Poppins with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt, and Tinker Bell with Reese Witherspoon. And then there are sequels to the adaptations like Maleficent 2 and The Jungle Book 2.

Be sure to cross The Little Mermaid off your animated-to-live-action bingo card.

Do you think Disney can pull off a live-action ‘Little Mermaid’?

With Donald Trump’s presidency looking less and less like a joke, these high-profile authors and writers believe the time for silence is over.

Over 400 authors have signed a petition to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.

The petition, titled “An open letter to the American people,” was written by Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka. It unequivocally states that Trump must not become President of the United States, and explains why writers in particular are worried about the power of his empty words and fear-mongering rhetoric.

Signed by the likes of Stephen King, Junot Diaz, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Cheryl Strayed, Colm Tóibín and Jennifer Egan, the open letter lays out reasons for openly opposing Trump’s candidacy, which they believe “appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society.”

The letter states:

“Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;

Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;

Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;

Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;

Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;

Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;

Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;

Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;

For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”

While there are plenty of arguments for why Trump should not receive as much media coverage as he gets, we have to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation when some of the country’s most respected artists take such a powerful stance as this.

The petition has been signed by over 7,000 people so far, and you can add your name to the list right here.

You can find out more about the group of writers who oppose Trump on Twitter, at @WritersOnTrump.