Well here’s some news we didn’t want to hear. Guillermo del Toro, who spoke of his frustration regarding the delay in production a few days ago, has stepped down as the director of The Hobbit films. Both he and Peter Jackson broke the news on TheOneRing.net, with the main reason being the ongoing delays which have prevented a start date being set.
You can read his statement below:
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 commented:
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…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…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
Damn you MGM! Those who have seen Pan’s Labyrinth and other del Toro movies will know that The Hobbit was perfect for him, hence the reason he was brought on board in 2008 to direct.
del Toro’s departure creates a lot of questions. Firstly, who will replace him as director? Peter Jackson would be a more than suitable candidate given that he made The Lord of the Rings. At the moment Jackson has no movies lined up to direct so he could be available, however the main reason he brought in Guillermo in the first place was because he didn’t want to compete with himself.
Spider-Man director Sam Raimi was in the running two years ago so he may jump at the chance to direct. The director has wanted to get his hands on a fantasy film for a while, which was why he signed up to direct the World of Warcraft movie (which hasn’t been moving along a great deal).
What do you think Guillermo del Toro stepping down? Who do you think should replace him as director?
Update: Peter Jackson’s manager, Ken Kamins, has told Deadline that Jackson won’t be directing:
“Peter has and has had obligations and commitments to other films that would make it impossible for him to direct The Hobbit at this time, even if it was offered, which it hasn’t been,” Kamins said. “I’ve been quietly working on setting up a film for him to direct while Guillermo would have been directing The Hobbit. What you saw in their respective statements must be taken at face value. All of that said, Peter and Fran’s commitment to The Hobbit is total and they will do everything necessary to protect the franchise and the investment made by New Line, Warners and MGM.”