Along with the previous casting rumors of who will play the titular character in Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, we also recently had a rumor floating around saying that The Hobbit would be split into three movies. Today, however, we have news that debunks one of the rumors, and at least part of the other.
The latest Hobbit rumors pertain to the casting of Bilbo Baggins, which we last heard was a three-man race between Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), David Tennant (Doctor Who) and James McAvoy (Wanted). Courtesy of the LA Times' Hero Complex (as well as the actor himself), we now know that Daniel Radcliffe will NOT be starring in The Hobbit as Bilbo Baggins (or anyone else for that matter). Here's a quote from the actor:
"I'd have to say, 'Thanks but no thanks,' not that anyone has asked me... Honestly, I don't think they would want me anyway, it's just too close. Whatever I do next, I don't think there will be any wizards in it!"
I'm very glad to hear that Radcliffe's name has been officially crossed off the list of Baggins candidates, for the very same reason the actor himself cites. The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings universe is too similar to the vein of Harry Potter movies, which Radcliffe is still very much associated with (do you think will he ever be able to shake that image off?). On top of that, I also don't think Radcliffe is right for the role of Bilbo, and I would much rather see either of the other rumored actors, McAvoy or Tennant, get the role.
Then there was this latest rumor (which comes from MarketSaw) about The Hobbit being cut into three movies instead of the two films it was previously confirmed to be. According to the rumor, the The Hobbit is going to be split into two parts with a third movie serving as a bridge between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here's a quote from Market Saw's source:
"I'm hearing word "and its only speculation at the moment", that it wont be two films. It will be three. The two parts and the bridge movie. Word alone is not trustworthy. However I hear this from lots of people. And have seen things to indicate this may be the way it is heading. Del Toro on Hobbit duty, Jackson on the bridge project. Time will tell."
The rumor also states that del Toro would still direct the two Hobbit movies, with Peter Jackson himself directing the "bridge movie." However, after deciding to e-mail del Toro outright to check the validity of these rumors, Latino Review got a reply from the director himself that debunks them. Del Toro says that all of it is speculation, with some of it being, "quite wild and inventive."
Market Saw also has some info - which may be true or not - on the characters of The Hobbit book being darker in the movie version. We'll just have to speculate as to how much darker they will be - that's if the info turns out true, of course.
When The Hobbit was first announced, the rumor was that the structure of the two movies would be one Hobbit movie and one bridge movie. That rumor turned out to be untrue and now this one looks to be untrue as well. It would have been nice, in a way, if there WAS some kind of "bridge movie" so that we could see some of the characters and actors from LOTR make a return to the big-screen. However, I'm still happy with the way they seem to be going with the project.
It's inevitable these sort of rumors come up - particularly with a high-profile project like The Hobbit. I'm guessing that we'll be seeing (and shooting down) lots more of these rumors over the next couple of years.
The first film of The Hobbit is set to hit theaters in December, 2011, with the second following a year later in December, 2012.