One of the pleasures of participating in this weekend's press day for "The Wolfman" was finally chatting with Hugo Weaving, an actor whose work I've admired for many years.  I'll have that whole interview for you later in the week, but it's worth making special mention of the short conversation we had about the upcoming Guillermo Del Toro version of "The Hobbit," which is currently still working its way towards production.

Just where it is in that process has been the subject of much debate online, and I decided to ask Weaving about what he's heard.  After all, his character Elrond is a major figure in the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created, and it would seem logical to expect him to show up in this new film.  With some characters, it would make sense to recast them younger for "The Hobbit," but with Elrond, he's an elf, and so his lifespan is very different, and Weaving could easily step in to play him again, even after the passing of a decade since the last time he played the part.

I asked him if he's already been contacted, and he responded, "My understanding is that that film should be happening this year, towards the end of this year."  That's a later timetable than we'd originally heard on the production, but don't take it as set in stone yet, since Weaving continued, "And what I’ve heard is that, yeah, they’re interested in me.  I haven’t had any conversations, and I haven’t read any scripts because they’re being closely guarded.  I don’t think the studio has even got the second script yet."

He seemed genuinely enthusiastic when he said, " I’d be interested in doing it.  I would love to work with Guillermo Del Toro very much.  I think he’s a fantastic talent, a great director."

I asked if the film would pose any fresh challenges considering how familiar he is with the role, and he responded, "Absolutely, and I would be interested in revisiting that in a way because the book is tonally quite different from 'Lord of the Rings.'  I think there’s a slightly more innocent quality to it... and it’s a slightly different world.  It’s the same physical world but the writer was at a different age when he wrote it, and he wrote it in a different spirit.  So you might be using some of the same actors and the same team but you might want to have a slightly different take on it and I think that would be pretty interesting."

I asked if he still runs into passionate fans of the "Lord Of The Rings" films or if the mania has died out after seven years.  "People still talk about it," he said.  "Not a great deal but people still do. But yeah, they do."

I would imagine that once production begins on "The Hobbit," people will be talking about it much more, and that the excitement will build quickly.

"The Wolfman" hits theaters on February 12th.

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