Peter Jackson producing Hobbit films
After years of Peter Jackson's dispute with New Line over royalties, it seemed like the long-rumored film or television version of The Hobbit would never come to pass. But apparently some agreement has been reached, though perhaps not quite the ones fans had hoped for, since Peter Jackson and his writing partner/wife, Fran Walsh, will be executive producing two Hobbit films for New Line and MGM.
"I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line," Jackson said in the project's press release. "The Lord of the Rings is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."
Harry Sloan at MGM added, "Peter Jackson has proven himself as the filmmaker who can bring the extraordinary imagination of Tolkien to life and we full heartedly agree with the fans worldwide who know he should be making The Hobbit."
The question, then, is why isn't he? As noted, Jackson is producing the films but not slated to direct or write them, as he's busy with a number of projects now (a Tintin film with Spielberg and working with Microsoft on a Halo film). Given the poor imitations of his style at work since then, from The Chronicles of Narnia to this past week's Golden Compass, making a film like this correctly is clearly not an easy task.
Aside from Jackson and Walsh, none of the cast or crew is known, including chief positions like director, screenwriter and Bilbo Baggins. Another potential snag since there isn't a simple halfway point is the fact that the film will be broke up into two pieces. A rumored television series probably would've made more sense, given The Hobbit's episodic nature.
The films are set to be shot simultaneously, much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy was, with filming starting in 2009 and release dates in 2010 and 2011 for each of the films.
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