Update: Now we’re hearing Maguire IS NOT in talks for The Hobbit. See post for details

Our friends over at Latino Review have broken an exclusive saying that they have it from reliable sources that Spider-Man himself, Tobey Maguire, is in talks to star as Bilbo Baggins in Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Latino Review isn’t one to simply toss out some random rumor, either; those guys do their journalistic homework.  In this case, they’ve linked together a nice string of circumstances and events, which all point to Maguire being on the short list of Hobbit candidates (see what I did there? ;-) ).

Alright, here’s the situation as presented by Latino Review. I’m going to take the extra-simplifying step of laying it out in bullet points for you:

  • Latino Review got a tip last month while Maguire was in NYC promoting his new film, Brothers, that the star had answered “Guillermo del Toro” when asked which director he’d like to work with next. Maguire added, “We may have something here in the near future.”
  • Casting for The Hobbit is currently underway.
  • LR then checked with some of their well-placed sources, and yes, talks with CAA (who represents Maguire) and The Hobbit producers are indeed taking place!
  • THESE ARE JUST MEETINGS. No offer or contract has been put on the table; it’s just to feel out the logistics of the situation.
  • Big point of evidence: According to Latino Review, Spider-Man 4 & 5 are NOT shooting back-to-back as once rumored.
  • Maguire would allegedly be free after shooting Spider-Man 4 to do The Hobbit.

Latino Review has more details, but for the full skinny on if and how Tobey Maguire would play Bilbo Baggins, you’ll have to go HERE.

I know that having Maguire onboard would be a major lock for the studio(s) involved with The Hobbit (Warner Bros. is currently co-financing the film to support the financially crippled MGM). A big star would guarantee an audience – but how will said audience feel about seeing Spider-Man play a hobbit? If this was happening years apart from another Spider-Man installment, that’d be one thing… However, as it stands, we’re talking some serious back-to-back Tobey exposure here…

“Can’t get enough of me, can you?”

Then again, that sort of thing didn’t hurt Robert Downey Jr. when he showed up in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder in the same summer; it’s probably not going to hurt RDJ in the near future when he shows up (not six months apart) in both Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man 2.

Sam Worthington was in both Terminator Salvation and Avatar (ok, so he was blue in one of those…); Ryan Reynolds has to balance out both Deadpool and The Green Lantern

…You see where this is headed.

UPDATE: THR has swooped in to mangle the report by Latino Review stating that Maguire is in talks for the The Hobbit. THR obtained this quote from Maguire himself :

“I have not met with del Toro. We don’t have any near future plans…I don’t know if something got misconstrued or miscommunicated but the source was not accurate at all…I love Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, and I certainly wouldn’t take myself out of the conversation … if I was part of it. But I haven’t read a script or talked to anybody about it.”

Guess that sticks a fork in this rumor – or does it? As Drew McWeeny over at Motion Captured points out, stars and publicists lie all the time. So who is right here, Latino Review or THR? Only time will tell…

All I know is that judging from our comment section, a lot of you are now breathing a sigh of relief…

Spider-Man 4 hits theaters on May 5, 2011

The Hobbit: Part I hits theaters in December, 2011.

Source: Latino Review

Update Source: THR