Rumour 1) The reason Sir ian McKellen hasn't been signed up is because he is holding out for more money.
Likelihood of some truth to this rumour - probably about 30% or so. On the one hand I can't imagine Sir Ian being driven by cash, but then again nothing seems to be happening about a contract with him. However, add to that the fact that Andy Serkis hasn't been signed up yet either, and I don't believe it's true. The only reason I'm posting it now is because it came from a reasonably solid source.
Rumour 2) There are currently around 6000 people directly or indirectly involved on the making of The Hobbit.
Likelihood of accuracy - about 20%. This seems like a huge number, and is possibly just hyperbole mixed with a misheard number (600 perhaps?). On the other hand, Weta Digital can have huge numbers of people employed, plus Weta workshop, plus all the other creative companies like set production, costuming, and of course the admin companies, and possibly counting anyone else who is somehow involved, including catering staff to all those people (including a ton of small local companies), maybe that was the "extended" amount.
Rumour 3) A Hobbit Set is currently being constructed just north of Wellington, in Waikanae, consisting (among other things) of a "pointing tree", whatever that may be.
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I'd give this one a 50% chance of being real - apparently a film set is being constructed there, although I have no proof that it's from The Hobbit. I just heard that one this morning, and have no other information on it (yet).
Rumour 4) Matamata's Hobbiton will remain a permanent installation after The Hobbit movie is finished filming, and at least 8 of the 44 hobbit holes have been dug out of the hillside, with enough space for a small bedroom, ready for Hobbiton to be turned into a Bed'n'Breakfast for us "true" Hobbit fans.
After seeing some of the awesome photos from some of my guests who have been to the set, I'm inclined to believe some of these stories. The bridge appears extraordinarily solid, and it did look at one point that some of the hobbit holes were created from the inside out, with enough space to create a small room behind it. Will it be a Hobbit Hotel? That's possibly more wishful thinking than anything else.As a side note, I have in my hot little hands an awesome set of Hobbiton photos that I may post in the next few days, if I have time.
That will do for now - I thought I had another one but I can't remember that one right now. I'll post more as I hear them. As always - these are RUMOURS, and I really wouldn't put any money on any of them coming true. Always interesting though!
- Jack M.