In a press release sent to Tolkien fan-site The One Ring.net, Hobbit director Guillermo Del Toro said he will be leaving the directorial role for two Lord of The Rings prequels. He has said, however, that he will still be involved if someone else takes over the job as he co-wrote the current Hobbit script – and would like to remain for any alterations.
“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filmingThe Hobbit I am faced with the hardest decision of my life,” says Del Toro.
“After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.”
The Hobbit films, which are based on J.R.R Tolkien’s book of the same name have been plagued by delays. With no green light, eyes and ears turn towards MGM for answers. They themselves admit that they are still unsure as to the productions future, and at the moment are focused on their current financial situation. At a press conference last week, del Toro said: “It’s not greenlit.”
“That’s categorical … We’ve been caught in a very tangled negotiation … There cannot be any start dates until the MGM situation gets resolved. They do hold a considerable portion of the rights.
“We have designed all the creatures. We’ve designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battles sequences … We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered.”
Reports that MGM are hanging on the edge of bankruptcy have reportedly played a part in the productions delays, Del Toro says that the prequels have been “tangled in negotiation” from the very start. The Hobbit was due to be released in 2012-2013, but at the current rate of production I would expect a much later estimate. There have also been talks of 3D.