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Guillermo del Toro to direct 'Hobbit'

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By DAVE MCNARY

In a major step forward on “The Hobbit,” Guillermo del Toro has signed on to direct the New Line-MGM tentpole and its sequel.

The widely expected announcement -- which had been rumored for several weeks -- came Thursday afternoon jointly from exec producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, New Line president Toby Emmerich, and Mary Parent, newly named chief of MGM’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group.

Del Toro’s moving to New Zealand for the next four years to work with Jackson and his Wingnut and Weta production teams. He’ll direct the two films back to back, with the sequel dealing with the 60-year period between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

New Line is overseeing development and will manage production. Both pics are being co-produced and co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Bros. distributing domestically and MGM handling international.

Del Toro won’t leave for New Zealand immediately as he’s still in post-production on U’s “Hellboy 2,” due out in July. His previous pic, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” was released through New Line’s Picturehouse and set a record as the highest grossing Spanish language film in U.S. box office history.

The official signing of Del Toro comes four months after New Line settled a lawsuit with Jackson over “The Lord of the Rings” and announced that it had agreed with MGM to turn J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” into two live-action films. Sam Raimi had been preceived as the initial front-runner as director but Del Toro had emerged in recent months as the likely candidate.

The studios didn’t give a start date on production and don’t yet have a script. Though no screenplay deal’s been set, it’s expected that the “LOTR” scripting team of Jackson, Walsh and Philippa Boyens will collaborate with Del Toro.

With Del Toro blocking out four years for the project, it’s likely that the studios are aiming at starting shooting next year and releasing the films in late 2011 and 2012.

Jackson’s WETA stages, post-production and visual effects facilities -- built for “The Lord of the Rings” -- will be used for both films. And New Zealand will again be the site of Middle-earth, with the story centering on Bilbo Baggins taking the Ring of Power from Gollum.

http://www.variety.com/VR1117984595.html

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good choice..i like his work...


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Not anymore :(

Guillermo Del Toro departs “The Hobbit”

Guillermo Del Toro announced today that he is no longer directing the two movies based on J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, but will continue to co-write the screenplays. Out of respect to the legions of loyal Tolkien fans, both Guillermo and Peter Jackson wanted to break the news to The One Ring first. They are both committed to protecting The Hobbit and will do everything in their power to ensure the films are everything that the fans want them to be.

“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”, says Guillermo. “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 wlsh 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”.

"We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave the Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone's control - has compromised his commitment to other long term projects", says Executive Producer Peter Jackson. "The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn't feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I've ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him. Guillermo's strong vision is engrained into the scripts and designs of these two films, which are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA".

"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" says Jackson. "New Line and Warner Bros will sit down with us this week, to ensure a smooth and uneventful transition, as we secure a new director for the Hobbit. We do not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work".

The Hobbit is planned as two motion pictures, co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM. They are scheduled for release in Dec 2012 and Dec 2013.

That's a hefty blow, Del Toro was a great choice to direct it but it seems to me he was a little naive in thinking making these films was not going to be a long term committment, could Jackson step in? :unsure:


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That's a hefty blow, Del Toro was a great choice to direct it but it seems to me he was a little naive in thinking making these films was not going to be a long term committment, could Jackson step in?

I wish they would go ahead and just let him do it. I know a lot of people were unhappy with the changes that Jackson made to LoTR but he delivered a visual that was beautiful and inspirational, a true adaption may be impossible but I don't see how anyone could have come closer with a bigger budget.

New Line and Peter Jackson need to get over the spat, for the sake of continuity to the project he needs to be the one to do it. Some of the touches he and Fran Walsh added to it can't be replicated - the story behind "Into the West" for example. That song still chokes me up :blush:


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