Peter Jackson will direct Hobbit films
Mike Fleming of Deadline New York reports that, despite initial denials, Peter Jackson will in fact direct the two films based on THE HOBBIT, J.R.R. Tolkien’s predecessor to THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Every since Guillermo Del Toro left the director’s chair, speculation among the fan community – and Hollywood in general – has been rife with rumored replacements, including Sam Raimi, David Yates, and Neil Blomkamp (whose DISTRICT 9 Jackson produced).
Jackson was not initially scheduled to direct. He was perhaps burnt out after the years spent working on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy; there was also bad blood between him and New Line exec Robert Shaye, over accounting of the profits of those blockbuster hits. Del Toro was brought on but recently bowed out when the financial problems of MGM seemed likely to delay the start date. Fans hoped that Jackson would take over, but that initially did not seem a likely possibility.
In his article, Fleming points out that, although several directors angled for the job, no offers were made. Fleming theorizes this indicates that Jackson was hoping to take the gig all along but first had to extricate himself from other commitments. Fleming’s article quotes no one directly, citing only “trusted sources.”
Needless to say, the fan community is ecstatic. I’m not so sure. Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy started off strong with LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, but it wore down over the course of LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS and LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. I lost count of the number of times our heroes battled impossible odds against certain death, only to emerge victorious, and the decision to film two HOBBIT prequels sounds less like an artistic decision than an accounting one, designed to milk every last penny from the franchise. There is a good movie to be made from Tolkien’s book, and Jackson may even be the one to do it; I just hope he’s had enough time away from Middle Earth to recharge his batteries.