'Hobbit' Stars Muse Over Middle-earth Set


A Dragon, an Elf, a Dwarf and a Bowman walk into a bar... That's what it seemed like when select stars of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug -- Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage and Luke Evans -- sat down with ET to talk about the second chapter in Peter Jackson's new Middle-earth trilogy on a set straight out of the movie!

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The set -- Beorn's House from Smaug -- is actually part of a massive installation called The Book of New Zealand, a spectacular real-life "pop-up book" built over two tennis courts and sitting 40 feet high at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Divided into four sets representing principal filming locations from the new film -- Hidden Bay (Turoa, Ohakune), Forest River (Pelorus River, Marlborough) Lake-town (Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook), and Beorn's House (Paradise, Queenstown) -- with original pieces of the actual movie sets, The Book is designed to show how The Hobbit's film fantasy of Middle-earth is drawn from the real life landscapes of the amazing shooting locations southeast of Australia. The Book of New Zealand was produced by Tourism New Zealand in conjunction with 3foot7 and PRG.

Watch the video as Armitage, alongside Beorn's giant chair, shares new details on that hilarious "sexy Dwarf" calendar made for Peter Jackson's eyes only; Cumberbatch recounts sharing his glee over landing a role in the J.R.R. Tolkien saga with his dad, who used to read the story to him as a child; Evans details his New Zealand exploits during his days off, including glacier climbing and skydiving with a co-star; and Lilly reveals how her infant son was horrified to be nursed by a red-haired, pointy-eared Elf warrior!

Part two of the epic, three-part Hobbit saga follows Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) and Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) and his band of dwarves as they journey to Lonely Mountain to battle the dragon Smaug and reclaim their untold treasures.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens December 13 (in High Frame Rate 3D, other 2D and 3D formats, and IMAX), while the final film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: There And Back Again, will open on December 17, 2014.