MORE FROM HOL­LY­WOOD

Hob­bit di­rec­tor Peter Jack­son is the lat­est film icon to visit China, Xu Fan re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr, di­rec­tor Peter Jack­son is the lat­est Hol­ly­wood film­maker to pro­mote an up­com­ing movie in China.

The fi­nale of The Hob­bit tril­ogy, The Bat­tle of Five Armies, will be re­leased across the coun­try on Fri­day. The film is adapted from Bri­tish nov­el­ist JJ Tolkien’s fan­tasy best-seller pub­lished in 1937.

After spend­ing 17 years on film­ing the The Lord of the Rings and The Hob­bit fran­chises, the 53-yearold film­maker, a New Zealand na­tive, has to say farewell to the mys­te­ri­ous “Mid­dle Earth”. Re­cently, Jack­son shares the mo­ment with hard­core Chi­nese fans, face to face.

On a tight sched­ule to pro­mote the fan­tasy ad­ven­ture in Beijing from anews con­fer­ence onMon­day to Tues­day’s red-car­pet show, Jack­son sur­prises Chi­nese re­porters with his greet­ing “ni­hao” (hello), which he re­veals tookhi­mone hour to prac­tice.

His nick­name “Peter the Great”, given by Chi­nese fans, makes the di­rec­tor feel “em­bar­rassed”, but “hon­ored”.

Though he had com­plained to me­dia at home that the decade­long work of shoot­ing the sametheme movies had been a “night­mare” of con­stant dead­lines, the Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor and scriptwriter seems re­laxed in his Beijing tour.

“It’s not a nor­mal job. You can’t go­homeat 6 o’clock. But it be­comes part of life. You can’t switch it on, or switch it off. (Moviemak­ing) is a life­style. I re­ally en­joy do­ing that,” he ex­plains, sit­ting cross-legged dur­ing an hour­long in­ter­view with nearly 200 Chi­nese jour­nal­ists.

Some en­ter­tain­ment tabloids have con­cluded in a teas­ing way that the must-ask ques­tions for Western stars in­clude: “Where do you want to go?” “What’s your fa­vorite Chi­nese food?” and “Who is your most adorable Chi­nese ac­tor or ac­tress?”

Though Jack­son has not shunned such ques­tions — and named the “very pretty” Fan Bing­bing as his fa­vorite ac­tress, he moves eas­ily beyond cliches.

With an enamel cup in hand, the sym­bolic crock­ery that almost ev­ery Chi­nese used in daily life dur­ing the 1970s and ’80s, the di­rec­tor makes a tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion with the Chi­nese au­di­ence.

Bri­tish ac­tor Richard Ar­mitage, sit­ting next to the di­rec­tor, also seems ea­ger to show his knowl­edge of Chi­nese cul­ture.

When asked if his role of Thorin Oak­en­shield, the leader of the Dwarves, has the same per­son­al­ity as­sameas his, the 44-year-old ac­tor re­sponds with “pig­headed” and makes it clear that he was born in 1971, the Year of Pig in the Chi­nese zo­diac.

“The mythol­ogy and

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