While the effects of MGM's bankruptcy are still rippling through Hollywood, it sounds as though progress is being made on one of the flailing studio's biggest properties, The Hobbit.
Two months ago we mentioned that Lord of the Rings director, and honorary white wizard, Peter Jackson was reportedly in negotiations to direct the franchise prequel, The Hobbit, in place of Guillermo del Toro. Now, we're getting word that plans for The Hobbit might be stabilizing - and that we should have an announcement clarifying Jackson's role 'sometime soon.'
According to The Dominion Post, a New Zealand newspaper, Jackson stated:
"[Warner Bros. is] making progress untangling the MGM situation, so we should have certainty with The Hobbit sometime soon."
In addition to the Hobbit tease, Jackson also discussed his interest in a film about the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (also known as the ANZAC). The ANZAC fought in the first World War and is often mentioned in conjunction with the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 - as the conflict was the first major operation carried out by the newly formed army branch.
Epic military battles are certainly nothing new for Jackson. Following Lord of the Rings, which featured enormous battles in an elaborate fictional universe with several magical races, a real-life war movie should be a total breeze.
While news about a potential Hobbit announcement might initially sound like a stretch. The quote, however brief, definitely hints at a ray of sunshine in a gloomy post-Guillermo del Toro Hobbit landscape. Either Jackson is merely attempting to keep hope alive - or the film might actually be gaining some traction.
It's been a rough six months, as production on The Hobbit has basically been in free-fall, causing a systemic breakdown of the previously assembled parts: financial woes that resulted in delayed start dates and the potential loss of fan-favorites such as Sir Ian McKellen - not to mention del Toro dropping out of the director's chair.
I realize I'm in the minority but I'm still hoping that Jackson has found someone else to direct The Hobbit. Jackson has dedicated a disproportionate chunk of his career to Tolkien's universe and while he's certainly done an incredible job, I'd like to see him freed up to explore the countless other projects he's got in the pipeline.
While the Lord of the Rings trilogy was certainly epic, there were moments that suffered from being a bit "samey" - especially upon repeat viewings of the trilogy. I'd rather see someone new come in, from a totally fresh perspective, with Jackson's guiding hand as executive producer to keep them honest.
However, Middle-Earth fanatics still have a lot of reason to be hopeful for a Jackson-helmed Hobbit. Given the numerous reports stating that Jackson was negotiating for the director's chair, coupled with his recent promise of new Hobbit information sometime soon, it seems likely that Jackson will be returning to finish what he started.