‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum (Andy Serkis). Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is the first of three films based on ‘The Hobbit’ novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The trilogy of ‘Hobbit’ films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Jackson’s ’The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.  The release schedule for the three ‘Hobbit’ films are as follows: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is set for a December 13th release; ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ arrives in cinemas December 13th, 2013; and ’The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ concludes the trilogy on July 18th, 2014. In the films Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner play Fili and Kili, while James Nesbitt plays Bofur.

Unlike the rest of these battle-hardened dwarves, Fili and Kili, who are Thorin’s nephews, they’re too young to have lived through the great dwarf battles and don’t quite know what they’re in for on this quest. They’re a bit more excitable than the rest of the dwarves….

Dean O’Gorman: Yeah. They’re the exuberant ones. Fili sees the quest as his birthright, an important part of his life’s journey. And it sounds like a boy’s dream adventure. He starts out with this very youthful enthusiasm, but as the story progresses, the seriousness becomes apparent. And my character Fili, as Kili’s older brother I look out for him, as he’s younger and takes more risks. The relationship triangle between Fili and Kili and Thorin, that offers a lot of content, the journey that Thorin goes on – Fili and Kili relate.

Fili and Kili get a rude awakening when they arrive at Bag End and see the company they’ll be travelling with, on this great quest for their people?

Aidan Turner: Yeah. They thought they were going to step into a dream team here, and suddenly, they look across the table and see this rogue’s gallery (laughs). There’s a guy with an axe stuck in his head, some heavy drinkers, some pensioners, a thief who’d rob from his own mother, and a Hobbit (laughs). But Fili and Kili find it fun and very easy to take the mick out of Bilbo, even in this room of complete misfits!

To a certain degree it’s their untold destiny to travel to the Lonely Mountain and to reclaim their lost treasure and their lost gold, and possibly their homestead. I guess, a lot of it is for pride, I think – and also the fact that material goods are something that the dwarves are almost semi-obsessed with (laughs). But it’s just something they need to do, and a lot of these songs and accounts of their people, their ancestors, they’ve been brought up with all of these stories of battles lost and won. And now, I guess it’s this portentous thing, where it’s in the air that they need to do this, they need to get it back.

And Bofur, he’s more endearing and likeable than most of his counterparts?

James Nesbitt: Yeah. He has maybe a softer side than a lot of the other dwarves, and he’s prepared to show that. In the first film he befriends the Hobbit, Bilbo, he looks out for him a bit and he looks after him. He cares about him. I think Bofur’s a mixture of the rough, the honest, but also the caring. Bofur’s overall motive is much simpler than the rest of the dwarves. I don’t think he’s necessarily interested in the noble pursuit of reclaiming their lost land. I think he and his kin just fancy a bit of fun, a bit of a scrap. He’s an optimistic dwarf. He has a pretty good take on life.

There’s some great banter and camaraderie between this company of dwarves and Bilbo in the film, did that transfer from the set?

Dean O’Gorman: Oh yeah. We became more like…. rather than just friends or working partners, we became almost like a weird kind of family, we were sidekicks to each other, to a degree (laughs). We were brothers in a way, we would bicker sometimes, we would have a bit of a joke about, we would hassle somebody, get up to mischief. But it was always done with a certain amount of affection because we were all going through this shared journey together.

And the dwarves, they have an interesting relationship with Gandalf in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.’ Even though they greatly respect him, they’re not quite sure what to make of him?

Aidan Turner: There’s a lot of mysticism around Gandalf, and they don’t know a lot about him. He is revered and he is magical. He’s this gigantic sorcerer, and he’s sort of scary to them. But he’s there to guide them. It’s funny because I guess to a certain degree they kind of fear him a little bit, he is to them the all-knowing, all-enduring Wizard. He’s a funny one. I guess they know he’s on their side, so they can respect him and appreciate him for that, but I don’t know if they can ever really figure out what he’s about – I don’t think anyone ever figures out what Gandalf is about, he’s a funny one, isn’t he (laughs)? He’s showing up at funny times, disappears at stranger times (laughs).

Bringing this enduring story to the big screen, a book countless people hold dear to their heart, how was it on set witnessing Peter Jackson and the team adapting it for the big screen?

James Nesbitt: It’s amazing. There is good and there is great evil in this story, and that’s a timeless notion. And that, joining with Peter Jackson’s inventiveness, his mind which can see what a child thinks, he just knows how to make that come alive for film. With the technical side of things, I think people are going to see things they’ve never seen before in this film. I think you’re going to believe in the characters, I think you’re going to feel for them, I think you’re going to go with them on every step of the journey – particularly with Bilbo. And to get there you’ll go through heartache, horror, wonder and majesty. I think whatever age you are, walk in and try to remember the sense of awe you had as a child at things. I think, hopefully, with what Peter Jackson and the team has done you will feel that awe firmly in place. His vision was amazing.