Guillermo del Toro to Direct The Hobbit(s)?
Guillermo del Toro, director of the critically praised Pan’s Labyrinth and the comic adaptations Hellboy and Blade II, is in talks to helm a pair of films based on author J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings precursor, The Hobbit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro is on a short list of directors who studios New Line and MGM, the holders of the film rights, believe to have both the filmmaking chops and respect for the source material necessary for another wildly successful blockbuster. If del Toro indeed becomes the director of The Hobbit, he would become the second filmmaker to to take on a Tolkien project after making a name for himself in the realm of horror films. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson began his career behind the camera of such cult-classic horror films as Bad Taste, Braindead (a.k.a. Dead Alive) and The Frighteners.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Few filmmakers have the cachet that del Toro has, as well as a deep love for the source material, an assured grasp of fantasy filmmaking and an understanding and command of geek culture as well as its respect. Del Toro has built that goodwill through such films as the Oscar-nominated "Pan’s Labyrinth," "Hellboy," "Blade 2" (which was made by New Line) and "The Devil’s Backbone."
Also of note: After settling a heated dispute with Jackson over "profit participation," the studios have agreed on an Executive Producer role for Jackson in The Hobbit, with the director also overseeing certain creative elements of the films.
The Hobbit films are tentatively scheduled for release in 2010 and 2011, but no writers have been assigned to the projects yet due to the WGA strike. Once the strike is settled, the studios plan to fast-track the projects.