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Guillermo del Toro Quits Hobbit Movie

In what will be seen as a heartbreaker by many fans and a major setback by the rest, Guillermo del Toro announced today that he will no longer be directing the Hobbit movie. Speaking to fan community TheOneRing.net, del Toro cited scheduling problems as his main reason for departing.

“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life”, says Guillermo. “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. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director”.

Just days ago, del Toro cautioned that the Hobbit movie’s delays would continue and that no definitive date had been set to begin production due to financial troubles at MGM, the Hollywood studio with the rights to the film. According to the AP, hitches in the Hobbit movie’s production coincided with rumors which emerged last year that MGM was on the verge of bankruptcy.

So will Peter Jackson, the Academy Award-winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, step into the breach? It doesn’t sound like it. Jackson, the Hobbit movie’s executive producer, released the following statement to TheOneRing:

“We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave the Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control – has compromised his commitment to other long term projects … The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I’ve ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him. Guillermo’s strong vision is engrained into the scripts and designs of these two films, which are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA.”

Deadline’s Mike Fleming reports that Jackson’s manager said that it was “absolutely not a possibility” that Jackson would direct the movie.

We were really excited by the prospect of a del Toro-directed Hobbit movie, especially in light of his excellent, though obviously different, Hellboy movies, the second of which was even better than the original. del Toro’s shoes will be hard to fill, and unless we hear official word of a successor in the coming week, we’ll be far more fearful than before that The Hobbit is stuck in a development hell that makes Mordor look like the Shire.

(TheOneRing.net via Jezebel)

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