Another day, another story about how The Hobbit isn't in production yet, but it will be soon, promise! This time the news comes from peter Jackson, who is on tour in Canada to promote the Lovely Bones DVD (maybe they liked it better up north?) and reminded us, yet again, that The Hobbit doesn't yet have a green light from the financially troubled MGM, and therefore can't really be considered delayed:

"The studio [MGM] has never greenlit 'The Hobbit,' so therefore 'The Hobbit' has never been officially announced as a "go" project, nor have we ever announced a date. But there's so much interest that people -- newspapers and magazines, of their own account, say, ah, it's likely to film in May, it's likely to film in June, it's likely to film in September. People make this stuff up."

Well, actually Peter, we're not the ones making it up-- it's your cast and crew. There was Andy Serkis promising it would film toward the end of the year, and before that Ian McKellen saying it would shoot in June or July, and oh yeah, Jackson himself saying they would film in the middle of this year.

Jackson is actually letting himself fall back into the same trap in this very interview, saying "I would imagine October, November, we'd be shooting by," then noting that he's "not announcing it." Well, I think you just did. He also emphasized that no actors have yet been cast, which is right in line with what we've been hearing, but also that none of the original cast were on board, even though Ian McKellen has been saying since last summer both that he's on board and knows who's playing Bilbo.

One bit of good news among all of this, though: the second draft of the script is finished, which is a huge step. "If anything was holding it up, it was us doing the screenplays, because we'd just been writing as fast as we can, but it took us this long to get them finished. So we take whatever responsibility there is for the speed. And we're now in the process of budgeting the films, and then hopefully we'll get to a budget the studio [people] are happy with, and they'll greenlight the movies and we'll announce the shooting dates."

I don't blame Jackson for being frustrated about all the chatter surrounding a project that's clearly difficult to get off the ground, but I do kind of resent him blaming it all on people making things up. With every interview he gives like this, he just further feeds the fire with more speculation. You'd think that the director of the three biggest geek movies of all time might have figured that out by now.

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