At yesterday's press day for Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the eloquent, elegant Guillermo del Toro had plenty to say about crafting the sequel to 2004's Hellboy, which we'll have at Cinematical closer to the film's opening; he also dropped a few facts and thoughts about his upcoming job helmingThe Hobbit. On the 'facts' front, del Toro mentioned that The Hobbit (which may be two films, one adapting the original novel and the other bridging The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with new material) will have a very different look than some of his other films: "The Hobbit will be (presented) in 2.35-to-1. ..." Translating cinematographer to English, that means that The Hobbit will be presented in widescreen, all the better to capture the hills and dales of the Shire.

Del Toro also spoke about the potentially tricky task of making his two Hobbit films in the wake of Peter Jackson's wildly successful trilogy, as well as what kind of material he might bring to a second movie -- and the tricky question of what Tolkien-created material Peter Jackson has the rights to (and can be used to create the two Hobbit films) and what material Jackson does not own the rights to (and can't use in a film). Del Toro's answers may have been short on detail, but they were long on vision. "What we're talking (about) is, obviously, utilizing the materials that are available to us, and the discipline has been to try and know, for my part, everything else -- not to know it and use it, but to know it and not step on those things.



(Del Toro contd.) ... "There is enough sort of narrative abridgment in some of the pieces of the narrative, and suggestions, and appendix notes and this and that to guide and create something that will not infringe anything else, but it's too early for me to swear by it; I think that that's the real creative endeavor in the second film. In the first film, the real creative endeavor is to be creative to the feel and drive of the book, and the spirit of the book; I think a lot of people say "It's a children's book ..." and I say "Therefore, it should be taken seriously. ..."

Del Toro was also asked if it was a 'challenge' stepping into Jackson's universe: " If I thought in those terms, I would actually be more daunted .. but the way I see it is, I see the whole, the five films -- provided that we do everything right -- as a symphony. And I believe what I'm doing is an overture. And therefore it can be a different color and a different energy and lead you into something that's already part of film's legacy -- and all we gotta do is create an almost free-standing piece that can then, if viewed together, make sense as a symphonic work. If the two first pieces are crafted with their independent merits, but also the second film does lead seamlessly into the first film in the trilogy, we will have created, perhaps, one of the most beautiful symphonies, filmically, that have been done. And the level of craftsmanship that we're talking about -- that I like to bring, that I like to do -- is obsessively detailed, and really the ideal that I'm going to have the tools that exist in (Jackson's special effects house) WETA, that exist in New Zeland, to create those (Hobbit films) -- I'm ready to create the pyramids! I'm ready to create the temple of Ra!" We'll have more from del Toro -- including a one-on-one interview -- a little closer to the July 11th release of Hellboy II: The Golden Army.