On this day…

September 8 1504 - Michelangelo’s David is unveiled in Florence.

September 8 1664 - The British receive New Amsterdam from the Dutch, and later rename it to New York.

September 8 1943 - Italy surrenders to the allied forces during the Second World War.

September 8 1944 - London is hit by a V2 rocket for the first time.

September 8 1966 - Star Trek makes its debut on NBC-TV.

Read more events from this day at DatesInHistory.com.
Lovely festive greeting from The Hobbit featuring Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Jackson, and some Dwarves…

Lovely festive greeting from The Hobbit featuring Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Jackson, and some Dwarves…

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Review


A year ago, we sat in stunned silence in a dark IMAX cinema as a gigantic reptilian eye snapped open from beneath a shifting pile of gold, staring back out to fill us with a mixture of anticipation and… dread? A year later, the owner of that huge eyeball stands revealed in astounding fashion, along with another ending that leaves us in identical suspense.

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A rather brilliant 9 seconds from last night’s world premiere red carpet of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Watch an epic 3 minute trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with plenty of new footage featuring Martin Freeman - and a new line of dialogue from a certain Dragon…

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman talk Smaug in the new issue of Empire

Out this Thursday October 31 in the UK, the new issue of Empire features a Hobbit special with a choice of four newsstand covers and a special subscriber cover. Inside, a sidebar feature highlights the creation of the iconic dragon Smaug in the second film in the trilogy. Played physically and vocally by Benedict Cumberbatch, the huge creature faces off with Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins in a scene that will likely prove to be very different from the pair’s interactions in Sherlock. Below are selected highlights from the magazine feature.

Benedict Cumberbatch: Playing Smaug was separate from any experience you can ever have as an actor – playing a fire-breathing reptile is quite out there! I just had to dive in at the deep end. I walked out and felt a bit of a prick. But no-one else seemed to notice so that was ok.

Martin Freeman: I was coming back from Christmas and Benedict was leaving. We had a quick cup of tea and he was off and I was on to do the Smaug scenes without him. But Peter (Jackson) played me his demo vocal, and I could hear it very clearly in my head. I was reacting to that and to fuckloads of lighting changes. I didn’t work with Ben at all really. Which was kind of ironic considering Sherlock has been bookending this.

Peter Jackson: We questioned whether we would have the dragon talking. I couldn’t get Sean Connery from Dragonheart out of my head. We did an animation test with some scenes from film two where the dragon is speaking purely psychically. We are hearing it in Bilbo’s head. It felt odd. Once you saw the dragon talking with Benedict’s voice, it was just fantastic. I had no more Sean Connery issues at that point.

Philippa Boyens: He is not anything, except maybe a psychopath.

Fran Walsh: He is quite English!

Benedict Cumberbatch: It’s not the riddles scene. There are similarities, but it’s not the same. There are size issues. Smaug is bigger than the hobbit. Smaug doesn’t engage with the hobbit the same way Smeagol does. Smaug is on much more of an ego trip. He likes to feel dominant at all times.

Phillippa Boyens: The first time I heard Benedict say “I smell you, thief,” it sent shivers through me.

Martin Freeman features on a huge new banner for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - but there’s no sign of the titular dragon portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch!

Hear the voice of Smaug in the new thrilling, hair raising full length trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug!

Just posted by Peter Jackson on his facebook page - Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch reunited on the set of The Hobbit!

And below, the image that accompanied the news that Martin Freeman has now completed filming on The Hobbit trilogy!

First trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Prepare to allow your jaw to drop for the final shot, with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch coming face to face…