Alleged Neglect Leads To Death Of Animals Used In ‘The Hobbit’
The Hobbit, finds itself embroiled in a rather unusual controversy. The filmmakers behind the highly anticipated movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel are on the receiving end of accusations that they helped to cause the deaths of up to 27 animals that were used in filming, supposedly due to poor living conditions on the farm where they were kept. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on its part isn’t too happy with this.
PETA in fact sent a letter to Jackson detailing the litany of allegations from whistleblowers and arguing that the deaths could have been prevented if the trilogy’s lead trainer and the head of production heeded the warnings of several wranglers. “Peter Jackson’s films have been at the forefront of the special-effects revolution,” said PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange in a statement. “But this production’s decision to use numerous live animals and allow them to suffer needlessly and die takes the entertainment industry a giant and disgraceful step backward” she added. As a result, PETA said it’s planning to stage protests at various Hobbit premieres around the world on the heels of the animal-abuse allegations.
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For the uninitiated, The Hobbit is an upcoming film series consisting of three epic fantasy-adventure films directed, co-written and produced by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937). The films are, by subtitle, An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, due for theatrical release in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. The series will act as a prequel trilogy to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and will star Ian McKellen, reprising his role as Gandalf, Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug.
Several other actors will reprise their roles from The Lord of the Rings, including Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. The most significant new involvement in the trilogy is the participation of Guillermo Del Toro, originally chosen to direct the films, as co-writer. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its world premiere on Nov. 28 in Wellington and is scheduled to be unveiled in the U.S. on Dec. 14.
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