Names in the news, Jan. 24

Posted Jan. 23, 2012, at 5:22 p.m.

Peter Jackson is making his hobbits and dwarves march double-time in his “The Lord of the Rings” prequel, which he’s shooting in a faster film speed than the Hollywood standard.

Jackson hopes the 48-frames-a-second rate — twice the 24 frames that has been the custom since the 1920s — will help bring about a gradual transition to faster speeds that can bring more life-like images and action to the screen. Digital cameras allow for shooting at 48 frames or faster, reducing the blurry effect known as strobing that can come with 24-frame filming. Jackson said he hopes there will be a fair number of theaters equipped with digital projectors that can handle the faster film speeds by December, when Warner Bros. will release “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first chapter in his two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic. Jackson talked about his film at the Sundance Film Festival, where he presented the documentary “West of Memphis,” produced by him and his wife, “Hobbit” co-writer Fran Walsh.

Jackson planned only to co-write and co-produce “The Hobbit,” but he stepped in to direct after Guillermo del Toro dropped out because of delays caused by the bankruptcy of MGM, which owned half of the project. British actor Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit who acquires the ring that sets the action of “The Lord of the Rings” in motion. Cast members returning from that trilogy include Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis. The second part, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is due in theaters in December 2013.

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