Yesterday we heard that Guillermo del Toro had stepped down as director of The Hobbit due to the continued delays in production, and because he has commitments to other movies which can’t wait until after 2013.
A natural replacement for him would be Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson who has been producing and co-writing The Hobbit alongside del Toro from the very beginning.
Jackson’s manager, Ken Kamins, released a statement yesterday saying “Peter has obligations and commitments to other films that would make it impossible for him to direct The Hobbit at this time”, however in an interview today Jackson said that he would “explore” directing The Hobbit if studios involved with his other movies let him.
From The Dominion Post:
Jackson met studio representatives yesterday to begin the search for a new director but wouldn’t rule out directing The Hobbit himself if a suitable person could not be found.
“If that’s what I have to do to protect Warner Bros’ investment, then obviously that’s one angle which I’ll explore,” he said. But stepping in as director would be difficult as he had signed writer and director contracts with Hollywood studios for two other films, with one likely to begin next year. “The other studios may not let me out of the contracts.”
Jackson said November was now the earliest start date for shooting, but it depended on finding the right director. “I just don’t know now until we get a new director. The key thing is that we don’t intend to shut the project down.
“We don’t intend to let this affect the progress. Everybody, including the studio, wants to see things carry on as per normal. The idea is to make it as smooth a transition as we can.”
It’s encouraging that Jackson is entertaining the idea, and I get the feeling that he actually wants to direct The Hobbit having guided it this far.
So what movies may be in the way of Jackson returning to Middle Earth? One could be the sequel to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn which he produced along with director Steven Spielberg. The idea was for Spielberg to direct the first film with Jackson supervising WETA’s post-production in New Zealand, and then for Jackson to direct the sequel with Spielberg producing. Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks and Columbia are all involved with the production, so it may be a tough one for Jackson to get out of unless Spielberg steps in to direct the sequel for him.
Jackson also has a few books he is might turn into films such as the post-apocalyptic steampunk novel Mortal Engines and His Majesty’s Dragon which is set during an alternate history version of the Napoleonic Wars, in which dragons not only exist but are used as a staple of aerial warfare in Asia and Europe.
Do you want Peter Jackson to step in and direct The Hobbit films?