Jackson's 'Hobbit' a labour of love

Director Peter Jackson poses for a portrait while promoting his film "The Hobbit: An...

Director Peter Jackson poses for a portrait while promoting his film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in New York, December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:02 PM ET

NEW YORK - If, as George Bernard Shaw said, "youth is wasted on the young," it follows that children's books might be wasted on children.

Peter Jackson says as much when he answers the question of how to turn light reading like J.R.R. Tolkien's children's book The Hobbit into a three-movie trilogy akin to his Lord of the Rings. (The first movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, clocks in at nearly three hours).

"It's a pretty misleading book," Jackson says of what has been the gateway drug to Middle Earth for generations, the tale of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his adventures with a band of dwarves, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), a dragon named Smaug and a creature named Gollum (Andy Serkis) who's lost his "precious" ring.

"It's written in a very breathless pace, and pretty major events in the story are covered in two or three pages - like a children's bedtime story," Jackson says.

He admits that, if his assignments had been reversed a


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