Cuarón Should Direct The Hobbit (If Peter Jackson Doesn’t)

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

The two-part movie adaptation of The Hobbit suffered a blow this past weekend when director Guillermo del Toro dropped out of the film. The acclaimed Mexican filmmaker has been working with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson for years now trying to get The Hobbit ready for theaters, but due to the financial woes of MGM, and delays to The Hobbit‘s schedule, del Toro simply couldn’t wait any longer.

Since Guillermo del Toro announced that he was leaving The Hobbit, the Web has been ablaze with talk of possible replacements, with two clear frontrunners emerging from the debate: Peter Jackson and Children of Men director Alfonso Curaón.


Ok, so this is a big “duh” for anybody who truly loves a J.R.R. Tolkien film done right. Peter Jackson has already turned Lord of the Rings into a multi-award-winning box office behemoth – and, truthfully speaking, long before Guillermo del Toro was a the “it” guy for The Hobbit, fans were clamoring for Jackson to continue the work he started on Middle Earth by helming a Hobbit film and turning his Tolkien trilogy into a full-blown Quadrilogy epic.

Jackson’s passion for the project is unquestionable: he’s spent the last few years helping del Toro get The Hobbit ready for production, and is even producing the massive project. When MGM started to go under, it was no doubt Jackson’s clout with New Line/Warner Bros. that bought the studio in to help share the financial burden. It’s safe to assume that Jackson would jump in to direct The Hobbit – if only to guide this lost at sea ship back to shore. The only question left is whether or not he’s in a position to do so.

Jackson and del Toro

Jackson’s manager, Ken Kamins, recently spoke to Deadline stating that while Jackson himself may be publicly saying ‘I’ll direct The Hobbit if I had to,’ the director actually has very real and binding contractual obligations that will keep him tied down for now:

“When Peter says that directing himself is one angle he’d explore if he had to, that means, if we can’t find another director who is right for the films that everyone can agree on, and, if at that time, the other studios involved in his other projects would relieve him of his obligations.'”

Might Warner Bros. shift mountains to put Jackson back on Middle Earth duty? Maybe, we’ll see (it would definitely be a good investment). But if Jackson is  ultimately unable to take the job, I know a great second pick…


When hearing that del Toro was out of The Hobbit, nearly everybody who is a movie geek said the same thing: “Alfonso Cuarón should direct that film!”

Cuarón, the famed director of Great Expectations, Y Tu mamá también, and Children of Men, has been stacking up serious critical (and commercial) cred with each new film that he does. Cuarón truly embodies the old-school definition of a cinematic “aueter”; no matter if he’s working on an indie film budget, a major studio prestige piece or a summer blockbuster, Cuarón’s creative vision and unique artistic style always seem to grab and hold viewers, leaving an indelible impression.

cuaron Cuarón Should Direct The Hobbit (If Peter Jackson Doesnt)

Cuarón certainly proved that he can make art out of anything with the 2004 film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. That film stands as the favorite of many Harry Potter movie lovers, in large part due to the way in which Cuarón’s vision transformed the film from a middling chapter of a fantasy series, into a movie that felt like a complete thematic journey, beautifully rendered on the screen like one of those paintings-in-motion you would find Hogwarts Castle.

Let’s not forget about the one-take tracking shot sequences Cuarón is famous for. Children of Men will always be remembered for its one-take sequences – especially the climatic scene of Clive Owen running through a dystopian urban ghetto, searching building to building for a missing baby, even as rebel fighters battle a military brigade with automatic gunfire and tank shells going off everywhere. Gorgeous, heart-pounding, epic filmmaking.

gollum the hobbit lord of the rings Cuarón Should Direct The Hobbit (If Peter Jackson Doesnt)

I can imagine it now: sweeping one-take sequences of Bilbo Baggins fleeing through the goblin caves beneath the Misty Mountains, or running in terror from the giant spiders in the black forest of Mirkwood. I can imagine Cuarón turning the very land of Middle Earth into a character of the film (as he did the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter) connecting us to the body of the world that so many Tolkien geeks already wish they could live in…

It would be pretty awesome.

In the end, you want a Hobbit director who won’t just match Peter Jackson’s achievement with Lord of the Rings – you want a director who will match that achievement (or best it) in his own fresh, unexpected and unique way. Personally, I want to travel back to Middle Earth and once again be surprised and enchanted by what I find, rather than feeling like I’m just visiting some old friend. For my money, Cuarón is the man who can make that happen.

hobbit shire Cuarón Should Direct The Hobbit (If Peter Jackson Doesnt)

The director currently has a list of upcoming films on his IMDb resume, including the sci-fi/mystery Gravity, which it is rumored he is in talks for. So really, we’re facing the same potential problem with Cuarón as we are with Jackson: the man may be too busy at the moment. We’ll keep you updated.

Do you agree that Alfonso Cuarón is a strong choice to direct The Hobbit? Would you rather see somebody like Neill Blompkamp (District 9), at the helm? Let your opinion be heard in the comments section.

BONUS: Check out me and some other Blogosphere big names on Script to Screen, discussing the Guillermo del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit and where we think the project is headed. You get to see your old buddy Outlaw in a rare appearance (try not to be smitten 😛 )!

At this point, I don’t think anybody can say for sure if/when The Hobbit will be in theaters.

Keep up with the latest on Twitter: @screenrant

Sources: Deadline & Script to Screen

TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. If they couldnt and i had the opportunity to, i would direct it but thats me dreaming…I agree the the prisoner of azkaban was the best so far cause of his directing tho I havent seen any of his other works. But I still fell Peter should drop out of Tin tin and another project to do this. So the two would work, but Neil…i really wasnt impressed with District 9, it could have been better if it dropped the scenes that made it look like a documentary.

  2. Yes… yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?

  3. After LOTRs, Peter Jackson by far is the man for the job…..Who else could do it?

  4. Children of Men = zzzzz

    I hope he can do better with that if picked. my sentimental hope is that Peter Jackson decides to do it.

    Just don’t let George Lucas anywhere near this, please

    • Are you kidding about Children of Men? It’s not meant to be mindless’s a tale of hope, redemption and how future generations are what bring hope to the world. I feel the film is very powerful, stunningly poignant and a pretty good assessment of the ambiance in the world post 911. Everytime I watch it I see different messages and images that make the entire film that much more meaningful. One of the best movies of the last 20 years. zzzzz I absolutely cannot see where you are coming from..

      • I thought it was very well done, but I found it depressing and was only able to watch it again one other time. I promised myself after seeing it in the theater that I would never watch it again, it was just too emotionally involving… which is saying a lot.
        Anyone that can evoke that much emotion is a worthy enough filmmaker to helm this project.
        Haven’t seen Alakazam, I don’t care for Harry Potter.

        • I dont care for harry potter like i did when i was younger, but Azkaban was the best movie out of the series. I havent seen children of men, tho i want too.
          And i agree, with george lucas’s films not as good as his older ones (the star wars prequal trilogy and the latest Indina Jones, but i still like the kingdom of the crystal skulls.) he shouldnt go near this.

  5. Alfonso Cuaron is the one for this job!!! He has demostrated it with his two works that involve a fantasy ambient: Harry Potter and A little Princess, he has an extraordinary vision for this kind of movies.

  6. Tsui Hark or Ching Siu Tung would be nice !
    Other hollywoood guys please,they mostly work the same way coming from same school with same same everything ! One is mostly like another !

    We need some pople who are not coming out of a Hollywood school,self taught with a unique vision…and thats a bit hard to find !

    Sandy Collora would be maybe a choice !

  7. I don’t see the Tintin franchise going anywhere. Too obscure. Most of the movie going public are going to think it’s moronic and outdated. So Peter Jackson should be available.

  8. I know everyone will disagree, but The Hobbit – Steven Spielberg And George Lucas. It would work. It really would. There isnt anyone else more qualified on the planet to handle such an ambitious project and keep the heart in the story.

    • George Lucas and prequels are not a good combination.

      I wouldn’t mind Spielberg, except for the fact that a big tentpole director like him would probably throw out all of del Toro’s preproduction work and try to do everything himself, thus destroying a great deal of my interest in the films.

  9. I don’t suppose there’s even a sliver of a chance that Guillermo del Toro will end up directing The Hobbit? Could he be convinced to return, even if the MGM greenlit the project today? Could he be coaxed back if they offered him the chance to direct one of his passion-projects, like At the Mountains of Madness, immediately after The Hobbit? Never mind. I’m probably clutching at straws.

    Cuarón does indeed seem like a good choice, but there’s one thing I don’t like about his style of directing: his habit of using freeze-frame shots. For example, in Prisoner of Azkaban, the camera froze in some extremely awkward and stupid ways during Harry and Hermione’s fight with the Whomping Willow. It was embarrassing to watch. I haven’t seen any of his other films though, so I don’t know if he does that often.

    Fox are filming First Class this summer, and Peter Jackson said recently that The Hobbit will start filming in November at the very earliest. Does this mean that McAvoy is still a contender to play Bilbo? I sincerely hope so. And what about Ron Perlman and Doug Jones? Are they still in for the roles Guillermo wrote for them (hopefully the Goblin-King and Beorn)? Or have they left with him? Urrgh… I wish del Toro would just come back and set all this mess right. I feel I’ll be left forever pining for what might have been at the end of this…

  10. What about Neil Marshall? It would definitely give The Hobbit a new look and feel like Jackson wants.

    While some may view his work not on par, I think if Jackson was to have a helping hand in directing and producing, Marshall’s vision would be on par with what the movie needs. Thoughts?

  11. I agree completely with kofi cauron would be an awesome choice and I really do think he does great work. Prisoner of azkaban was so critical in that frabchise because it went much darker and cauron properly envisioned that. Children of men… Only one of my top five movies ever. Those long tracking shots were amazing as Kofi said. Truly immersed you in the world with excellent visuals and sound effects. Those scenes reminded me of saving private Ryan with that real washed out gritty look. Ah it’s great stuff but sadly I don’t think he would get a project like the hobbit which has so many things riding on it. But yes I do agree he would be an excellent choice forsure you got my vote mate.

  12. Cuaron made the best potter film to date so the hobbit would be lucky to have him……