Updated 4/24/08: The Associated Press has reported that New Line Cinema officially announced that Guillermo del Toro is, indeed, directing the two “Hobbit” movies. The report says they’ll be made “back-to-back,” but doesn’t go into specifics. Also, it says he’ll be directing “The Hobbit” and “its sequel.” I’m not sure what to make of that, as New Line originally said the two movies would be “The Hobbit” split in half…
To follow up on an earlier post, it appears that Guillermo del Toro has agreed — barring major setbacks, which now seem unlikely — to direct the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”
Del Toro is listed as director for both movies (it had been announced the book was being split in half) at imdb.com. IMDb cites reports that del Toro had agreed but had not actually signed a contract as of the end of January. It said there was the possibility things could change, but that was mostly in regard to the length of the Hollywood writers’ strike, which has ended.
I’m honestly not very familiar with del Toro. His directing credits include “Hellboy” and its upcoming sequel, “Blade II” and the award-winning “Pan’s Labyrinth.” He seems to have a full plate coming up, with “3993” slated for 2009, “The Hobbit” and “At the Mountains of Madness” in 2010 and the second “Hobbit” in 2011. Incidentally, “At the Mountains of Madness” is also an adaptation, specifically of an H.P. Lovecraft novel.
Interestingly, his mini biography on IMDb (supplied by deltorofilms.com) includes this line about an earlier part of his career:
Del Toro had some unfortunate experiences working with a demanding Hollywood studio on Mimic (1997), and returned to Mexico to form his own production company, The Tequila Gang.
He did, of course, return to Hollywood for “Blade II” and the “Hellboy” movies, so I’ll hope that he doesn’t have anymore “unfortunate experiences” while working on “The Hobbit.” I would think that having Peter Jackson as executive director would help, considering that Jackson also has strong roots in independent films.
There’s no cast listings yet for “The Hobbit,” so I guess that will be the next point of debate. I’d certainly hope to see Ian McKellan back as Gandalf, and he’s apparently said he would do it assuming his health is up to it.
Ian Holm is obviously too old to be the younger Bilbo. Some of the fan suggestions I’ve seen have included James McAvoy (“Atonement”), Martin Freeman (“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and Britain’s “The Office” TV show) and Colin Firth (“Bridget Jones’ Diary”, TV’s “Pride and Prejudice”). The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Freeman for the role. I just think his acting style from what I’ve seen would work well.
Finding all the dwarves will be interesting, as will voicing Smaug. I’ve seen everyone from Mickey Rourke to Javier Bardiem to del Toro-favorite Ron Perlman being touted for Smaug on message boards. Also, let’s not forget about Beorn and King Thranduil.
Any thoughts on casting?