Anyone who's been itching for that Hobbit movie is unfortunately going to have to wait a bit; or more realistically, a good long while. Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, spoke with Empire recently about the state of the project, and it's mostly bad news.
Jackson, who supposedly replaced previously slated director Guillermo del Toro, had this to say, “We haven’t got a greenlight yet. We’re still waiting. Things still seem to be inching closer to some sort of happy place. I keep hearing that so many times now I’ve stopped tuning into it.”
This flies in the face of recent Hobbit-related news and discussion, much of it centering around the idea that the films are on track to begin production in January for a 2012 and 2013 release schedule (both in 3D as well, for some reason). Jackson goes on to explain the situation, saying,
“We’ve seen these reports before, reports saying there was going to be a greenlight in a couple of days — well, a week’s gone by and there isn’t one. You can’t believe everything you read. There is only one thing you want to believe and that’s when the studio announces a greenlight. As far as I’m aware that’s not going to be today. I keep hearing positive things. Everyone’s working very hard. There’s a lot of people at Warner Bros. who are working around the clock trying to manoeuvre through the MGM complexities. MGM is a company that is about to go bankrupt and in a way they are about to take The Hobbit into bankruptcy hell with them when they go down. Warners are trying to extract The Hobbit out of the bankruptcy hell before it happens. It is just so complicated I can’t even put my head into it. It’s all to do with American copyright laws, bankruptcy laws. A lot of Warner Bros. lawyers are working round the clock at the moment trying to make it happen so let’s see."
It's unfortunate that the film is having so much trouble getting off the ground, especially with the original trilogy garnering a Best Picture win among other accolades. If you're unfamiliar with the book, The Hobbit was a children's fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in 1937. The story introduces characters such as Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins, as well as Gollum and his ring. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is actually a sequel to The Hobbit, but obviously quite a bit more expansive and epic. It's for this reason that i was very wary of a Hobbit movie. While The Lord of the Rings had scope and scale enough for six movies if they could've managed it, I don't feel like there's enough interesting material in The Hobbit for one film, let alone two.
Specifically, The Hobbit was written for children, and I can definitely see it as a great kid's movie. But as an adult epic on the same level as Lord of the Rings? It's going to be hard to meet fan expectations without changing the material significantly. Either way, if Jackson is still passionate about the project, then I suppose I'm still on board. He didn't let us down last time, so I think he's earned some measure of faith. And luckily, it looks like he's got a little bit of zeal left in them,
"I’m certainly happy to be involved. At the moment, I’m a writer and a producer on it. We’ll see. Warner Bros. have been very, very good, very loyal and very supportive and I want to do what’s right for them first and foremost because I’ve got a responsibility to look after their investment. And it’s also something I am actually excited about so we’ll see what happens. I’ve learnt never to get that excited until something is greenlit because there is a moment when you commit emotionally to a project and you give everything, your heart and soul. At that point, once you’ve done that and it doesn’t happen, it’s the most horrible thing in the world outside of stuff do with your family. It’s the worst experience ever, to have a film fall over that you’ve committed 100% to. I always just protect myself and don’t fully commit until I know for sure that it’s happening. Then it gets my 100% commitment."