Via /Film, Guillermo del Toro on leaving his position as director of the upcoming film version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit:
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.
Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and producer of The Hobbit, confirms that del Toro will be staying on as part of the writing team:
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…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
Disappointment aside, the big question is who’ll fill del Toro’s shoes. The obvious choice, to me at any rate, is Jackson. Despite being a fan of del Toro, he’s always struck me as too dark a director for the project, and one of The Hobbits biggest strengths (and why I much prefer it to The Lord of the Rings, is its whimsical, storybook nature. That’s not saying del Toro couldn’t have pulled it off (and we know it’d have been stunning visually), but Jackson nailed the look and feel of The Lord of the Rings, and I have no doubt that he’d do justice to the spirit of The Hobbit.
Looks like Jackson might direct after all, if no other suitable director is found:
Sir Peter Jackson says he will step into the breach and direct The Hobbit himself if it becomes the only way to ensure the US$150 million (NZ$219m) film is made after the sudden departure of director Guillermo del Toro.
Good news, if true.