And the bad news just keeps on coming this weekend. In a bombshell of an announcement, Lord of the Rings fan site TheOneRing.net has relayed to the world the unfortunate scoop that Guillermo Del Toro will no longer be helming The Hobbit movie. Back in March, it was beginning to look like the two-movie project would suffer some sort of delay due to MGM’s perilous financial situation. Producer Peter Jackson tried to re-assure fans that they would still make the 2011 release date, but then in April, the next Bond movie (another major MGM project) was put on hold indefinitely. Clearly, the business complications have come to a head, and Guillermo Del Toro has now been forced to bow out.
He has issued the following statement:
“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.
I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project.
Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director.”
So there you have it. I was beginning to wonder how he could possibly commit to such a demanding movie in the first place when he also has about 20 other projects currently in development. This certainly calls into question the future of The Hobbit, and unless Peter Jackson himself takes over the reins, I’d be pretty surprised to see someone else jump on board before the sale of MGM is resolved. Either way, the fact that Del Toro has at least had a hand in the pre-production on these movies is a good thing, and hopefully we will still see it get made. Are you disappointed by this news? Is there anyone else you would like to see direct The Hobbit, or is Peter Jackson now the only logical choice?