It looks like we can rule out the possibility of Jackson directing the back-to-back installments of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. With Jackson at least onboard to produce, MGM and New Line have been looking elsewhere. With so many great names on such a short list, Guillermo del Toro has once again surfaced to discuss the possibility of getting behind the camera.
Del Toro Thinking Hobbit
Since millions are at stake on the next Tolkien project, New Line is playing it safe when it comes to finding their talent. Guillermo del Toro's name has been mentioned on a short list of director's capable of handling the adaptation, but his love for the material and grasp of the genre has helped him to remain on top.
Add in the fact that just about every movie geek loves him and he is due something big ever since being robbed at the Academy Awards for Pan's Labyrinth, one would have to assume that he is most certainly the correct choice.
New Line and MGM must also find a writer to adapt the material, something they hope to fast-track once the writers strike gets resolved.
Principal photography for the films, which will be shot simultaneously, is tentatively set for 2009. The production budget is estimated at $150 million per film. The release of the first film is slated for 2010 and the second in 2011.
Hobbit, which Tolkien initially wrote for his children, was published in the U.K. in 1937 to wide acclaim. It centered on Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who joins a group of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf on a quest to find the treasure of a dragon named Smaug. Tolkien went on to write The Lord of the Rings 17 years later.