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"I think I read somewhere that Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a children's book for his own children, who were young at the time, and so it has a slightly naive but very whimsical and humorous kind of tone.
I didn't want to make a children's film per se, but at the same time I wanted to have it be more comedic than The Lord Of The Rings and be able to sort of capture something of the flavour, but also feel like we had a foot in The Lord Of The Rings door as well, so the same filmmakers are making another Middle Earth story, in much the same style. So it's the characters within the story that give it its humour, rather than me making a film for children.
You know, if you were writing the Hobbit as an original screenplay, for instance, you wouldn't have thirteen dwarves, you'd probably have three or four of them and call it a day. For a long time I was worried about those thirteen dwarves, I was worried about the size of the ensemble, but you end up having to somehow make it work for you; what you think is a disadvantage has to become an advantage.
Rather than be thinking of it as the burden of trying to tell a story with thirteen dwarf characters, we started to think, well, thirteen's not enough - what are these dwarves trying to do? They're trying to reclaim their homeland from a dragon; they really need an army. They need thousands of dwarves to be able to do that, so the fact that they're such a small group, we started to work that into the bones of the story."