Up Close And Personal With The Fierce Dragon Smaug From ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

Posted Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 03:00 pm GMT -4 by

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Judging by the $73.7 million that ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ drew in during its opening weekend, fans of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved story have already seen what the titular dragon played by Benedict Cumberbatch looks like. Additionally, Smaug is also flying around New Zealand thanks to one of the country’s airlines adorning their planes with the majestic beast. But if somehow you haven’t had a chance to lay your eyes on the character yet, then here is your chance.

USA Today shared an article recently revealing some little known facts about Smaug. Along with this piece, they debuted the following picture of the creature that shows the incredible detail of his face:

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Regarding these facts accompanying the picture, Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri shared some insightful anecdotes about the process of creating Smaug. Previously, we knew that Cumberbatch provide motion capture for the character to provide a more authentic performance out of the dragon, but apparently the designers had to work extra hard on his mouth in order for the movements to appear properly:

“He’s got this huge jaw that goes all the way down to the back of his mouth than humans don’t. The equivalent jaw movement on a human to make sound like a syllable would translate into this really, over-large movement on the dragon.”

He also revealed that the inspiration for the look of the character came from a combination of classic European portrayal of a dragon with some features of the legendary Asian dragons. Since the author originally mentions that the dragon was like a worm, Letteri and his team decided to incorporate that description with the mash-up that ended up on screen:

“You’d think a big chest for a really powerful dragon, but then you realize if you want him to slither through the gold, you have to slim that down a little so he can be more streamlined. It was just playing back and forth about what he needs to do, and then shape his body to make that work.”

What did you think of this new look at Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug? Did you like how the dragon appeared in the second chapter of Peter Jackson’s version of ‘The Hobbit’? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ starring Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Sylvester McCoy, and Benedict Cumberbatch is in theaters now.