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Getting to Know the Dragon Smaug AKA Benedict Cumberbatch

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has finally been released and thankfully, it's far better than the first (which didn't get to the good stuff until the very end). Though the cast is huge and plenty of familiar characters were finally given some excellent screen time (I'm looking at you Thranduil), it's safe to say that people are going to be the most excited to finally meet Smaug. The gold-loving dragon is played by Benedict Cumberbatch (who also plays another baddie in the film, the Necromancer — who ultimately becomes the Sauron you saw in The Lord of the Rings trilogy; keep up) — notice how I'm not using the term "voice," because he hates that.

Much like Andy Serkis' Gollum, Cumberbatch's psychotically charming dragon was achieved through dressing up in a motion-capture suit so director Peter Jackson could get the actor's movements and habits. Which may be why Smaug somehow manages to be Hannibal Lecter's seductive, scaly brother — yeah, I said it and you'll see what I mean soon enough — because each facial expression the dragon makes is uniquely Benedict (we're on a fist name basis from now on). The textures department at Weta Digital spent two and a half years working on Smaug's skin alone. Trust me, this is one awesome dragon and he'll exceed even the most diehard of fan expectations.

Mila Pantovich

An avid traveler, Mila Pantovich splits her time between San Diego, CA and Banff, AB Canada. She has been working with JustLuxe as a writer and editor since 2012 and has been featured in several publications, including Huffington Post. Additionally, she works in marketing for a prestigious securities law firm. Follow her travels on Instagram: @MilaPantovich ...(Read More)

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