LOS ANGELES—Either deploying a brilliant strategy to spur excitement for his forthcoming adaptation of The Hobbit or completely losing his grip on reality, filmmaker Peter Jackson told reporters Sunday about the many hobbits with whom he enjoys personal friendships.
"It was such a delight to return to the Shire and work with all my marvelous hobbit friends again," said Jackson, who may have been introducing a daring new kind of marketing campaign or may have experienced a major psychotic break. "These are the guys I spent years with when we were making The Lord Of The Rings, so we're almost like family at this point."
"Bilbo, of course, is as hale as ever, and seeing Frodo for a couple days was a rare treat," an enthusiastic Jackson either playfully or chillingly told members of the Hollywood press. "They're my little best friends."
When asked to clarify how his two-part Hobbit series would differ from the original book, the Academy Award winner immediately answered that it would have "many, many more hobbits." Jackson, whether going totally off the deep end or making a bold attempt to generate press for his films, went on to speak of his affection and deep respect for Blandroot Took, Summerstorm Bolger, Hardtoe Gamwich, and numerous other members of the completely fictional race first imagined in the 1930s by author J.R.R. Tolkien.
A question about what it was like to work with actor Sir Ian Holm again was met with scowling silence until a reporter reworded the question, referring to Holm as "Bilbo."
"I have a few [hobbits] at my house right now," said Jackson, continuing his brilliant publicity coup or alarming disconnect from reality. "There's dear old Primrose Brandybuck, the finest potter north of Sackville, and Clotho Proudfoot, the baker, who is simply a wonderful chef. The aromas from his superlative dishes fill my house day and night."
"Did I show you the birthday card I got from Bilbo this year?" added Jackson, holding up a pile of leaves. "He always remembers to send one. He's a very special hobbit."
In a statement that could have been orchestrated by New Line Cinema or could be symptomatic of severe clinical paranoia, Jackson lamented that the entire thriving community of hobbits would cease to exist by the end of the Fourth Age, when they would be "overrun by the brutish Big People with their filthy, noisy machines."
Sunday's interview comes a week after a New Zealand talk show appearance in which the acclaimed director insisted upon being called "Jackson the Green," held aloft a yardstick with a tin can on one end, and defied any critic who questioned his interpretation of Tolkien's works to "take up a staff of power and meet [him] in Isengard" to duel atop the tower of Orthanc.
Reached for comment, friends and longtime collaborators applauded Jackson's commitment to his craft.
"The thing about Peter is that he really, really loves these books and has dedicated himself to taking what's on the page and bringing it to life, so to speak," said Elijah Wood, who briefly reprises his role as Frodo in the Hobbit films and neglected to confirm whether Jackson had developed a brilliant new marketing tactic or a profound mental illness. "It's a big part of who he is. A very big part."
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, opens Dec. 14; symptoms of schizoaffective disorder listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders include delusions, hallucinations, and manic episodes.