With Guillermo Del Toro out of the picture, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson says it's possible that he might end up at the helm of The Hobbit after all.
Del Toro announced over the weekend that he was stepping back from The Hobbit, saying the overly drawn-out and highly uncertain production schedule was beginning to come into conflict with his other commitments. In a conference call on Friday, he said that after nearly two years of working on the project, the team is "very, very prepared" to begin production but that until the financial situation at MGM is resolved - the same financial situation that's hanging up a new James Bond movie - nothing can actually move forward.
"Guillermo is co-writing The Hobbit screenplays with Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and myself, and happily our writing partnership will continue for several more months, until the scripts are fine tuned and polished," Jackson told TheOneRing.net. But without a director, nothing much can happen and unlike films like Kane & Lynch, The Hobbit isn't the sort of project you can just toss to the first person that walks by.
The obvious choice to replace Del Toro is Jackson himself, the award-winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but his manager Ken Kamins initially dismissed the idea. "As for Peter directing, that's not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects," Kamins told CNN. "But make no mistake, Peter and Fran's commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, Warner Bros. and MGM."
Jackson himself had somewhat different thoughts on the matter, however. Speaking to The Dominion Post, he said, "If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore." But he added that it would be "difficult," because he does have contracts for two other films, including one expected to begin next year. "The other studios may not let me out of the contracts," he said.
Other commitments notwithstanding, Jackson is probably the front-runner for the job in the hearts and minds of fans. But if he can't, who should?