This is starting to look like the movie that God simply does not want to be made.
In recent weeks/months fans of Middle Earth have been rejoicing: after the year-long drama of the MGM bankruptcy saga, Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was officially greenlit, and was headed into production. Now, production on the Lord of the Rings prequel has been delayed yet again by an event that is bigger than Hollywood politics: the health woes of Peter Jackson.
New Zealand website Stuff reports that Jackson was hospitalized with perforated stomach ulcer at Wellington Hospital last night. He underwent surgery for the ulcer and is currently said to be "resting comfortably" and is expected to "make a full recovery." This health scare will NOT prevent Jackson from continuing his directorial duties on The Hobbit, but as Deadline has confirmed, the film will have its expected start date pushed back in lieu of the incident.
It's no wonder poor Sir Peter is being afflicted with this particular ailment: The Hobbit started out as such a happy venture, bringing Jackson together with close friend Guillermo del Toro, the man who was originally supposed to helm The Hobbit, with Jackson guiding the film along. When MGM started having money troubles, The Hobbit had the first of many delays that would ultimately force del Toro to leave the project. Jackson jumped into the director's chair to save the film, but even when the MGM situation looked to be clearing up Jackson again found the film under fire (in his own backyard of New Zealand) when acting unions protested The Hobbit filming in The Kiwi Country, due to what they felt were unfair labor policies.
Heck, even recently when this film has been on solid ground Jackson has still been facing the demand of delivering a two-part blockbuster - one that is already boasting cutting-edge 3D and CGI creature effects. There's also the small matter of having not one but TWO major studios (MGM and Warner Bros.) putting a lot of money on the line for The Hobbit to be a success. Why would anyone be anxious about all of that?
In all seriousness, we'd like to join Hobbit and Peter Jackson fans everywhere in wishing the director a speedy recovery.
The Hobbit: Part 1 was supposed to hit theaters on December 19th, 2012 and Part 2 in December 2013. We'll keep you updated about changes to those release dates.
Header Image Photo Credit: Simon Alekna
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