Peter Jackson to Direct ‘The Hobbit?’

Apparently bored with the set-backs and snafus caused by MGM’s endless turn on the auction block, director Guillermo Del Toro backed out of his gig directing the long-gestating, two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, leaving many to wonder who might take his place. Given the unprecedented box office track record of the Lord of the Rings series, a planned budget of 150 million dollars, and LOTR director Peter Jackson on board to produce—an enterprise worthy of that shopworn canard, “too big to fail”—it’s easy to imagine there’s a long list of would-be Hobbit directors chomping at the clichéd bit. So who’s likely to get the deed to this directorial goldmine? In what I’m sure will be happy news for Frodo fans everywhere, it turns out Jackson himself might be stepping behind the camera.

The New York Times writes that Jackson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of getting his hobbit on once again. He’s got a lot of other commitments right now—among them two Tintin movies he’s producing for Steven Spielberg—but Jackson’s hinted that he’s not necessarily out of the running. “If that’s what I have to do to protect Warner Brothers’ investment, then obviously that’s one angle which I’ll explore,” he told The Dominion Post. Good news, methinks. By chance (and largely out of boredom) I watched the entire LOTR series last week. While I came away thinking of them as a lot of hokey landscape porn (the subtending message of the films is “Visit New Zealand!”), I nevertheless like the idea of a singular vision providing continuity across the many installments of the series. Jackson and his dare-I-call-it legacy will be a heavy burden for anyone else to have to shoulder anyway, so it seems like a natural choice for the (once quite tubby but now shockingly skinny) director. At this point he’s the goddamn ring-bearer.

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