Until we hear an actual official announcement from New Line / Warner Brothers, anything that Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, or even Ian McKellen says about The Hobbit is unconfirmed. They can talk all they want, but as Guillermo himself says "it's all immaterial until everything is signed and put on paper." With that, on Wednesday the big guns at Entertainment Weekly caught up with Guillermo and, of course, asked him about the latest on The Hobbit. First thing to notice, Guillermo does outright say "I will be involved." Besides that, though, it's the same ol' wait-until-its-ready talk we've heard for a while now.
Given the importance of this project, I think its best to leave this update in its original question-and-answer form. Frankly, it's just a brief update with hardly anything new. But it is at least an update that will continue to keep Hobbit fans happy until we get the official word.
So where do things stand with you directing The Hobbit?
Guillermo: There have been a lot of discussions of cast and crew, agreements on the direction the movies would go, and if and when I come on board. But other than that, frankly it's all immaterial until everything is signed and put on paper.
Is the folding of New Line Cinema into Warner Bros. holding things up?
Guillermo: I think it played a role for a few days; being dramatic, I would say a couple of weeks. But the fact is [the movie is] a huge endeavor. It's about a half-a-decade of commitment. It's two movies back-to-back that are massive. So a lot has to be sorted out. All I can say is, creatively we are all in sync and eager to commit and move forward.
Does it look like it's getting any closer?
Guillermo: It does, it does. It's a little bit of a tango, a couple of steps forward, a couple of steps back. But at the very least, I have the illusion of movement. [Laughs]
Do you think it will all be resolved by, say, the summer?
Guillermo: I would hope so. I would be overjoyed if it's sooner that that. If it happened, we would definitely make public the [production] calendar.
Is one of the elements of the negotiation your involvement with the script?
Guillermo: Oh, no no no. That is pretty much sorted out. I will be involved, and so will the original team in some capacity. There's no discussion about that. It's more the planning of it, the calendar, but nothing as major as that.
Last year it was confirmed that The Hobbit would be split into two movies, the first based on the book and the second a bridge connecting the first movie and the three Lord of the Rings movies. Current plans are to release the two movies in 2010 and 2011, which means there is still plenty of time to work out the details. Guillermo del Toro of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy has been rumored as the director for quite a while, and when questioned recently, he seems to be silently confirming that that is the truth. However, nothing has been signed which means it's still not 100% official.
As always, we'll be the first to bring you any important news on The Hobbit as it hits. Stay tuned for more as the project develops over the next year and details are officially announced.