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Hobbit fallout: who will direct, and what's del Toro doing next?

06.01.2010

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has officially said Adiós to THE HOBBIT, leaving a considerable hole in the talent team for the eventual production. Who could step into those shoes to take Bilbo there and back again (whenever the behind-the-scenes business is resolved)?

There's plenty of speculation online (and that's all we're likely to have for the foreseeable future). The name to immediately spring to the virtual lips of many was, of course, Peter Jackson. The lord of the LORD OF THE RINGS told NZ's Dominion Post that he wouldn't rule out directing it himself: "If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore," he said. "The other studios may not let me out of the contracts."

Indeed, Jackson's manager downplays the possibility to EW: "That’s not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects. But make no mistake, Peter and Fran’s commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, [parent company] Warner Bros. and MGM."

EW also says that despite the widely reported woes of MGM, "Dec. 2010 has always been the target production start date and is not expected to change with Del Toro’s replacement." So who would be able to slide in with that time frame? Sam Raimi, who pursued the project before placing second to GdT? Or is Raimi content to play in the fantasy realm of his WORLD OF WARCRAFT project?

A better question might be: What will del Toro actually do now that his schedule has four extra years open? He has plenty of potential projects to tackle as either producer or director. There's adaptations of Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, H.P. Lovecraft's AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, Dan Simmons' DROOD, Roald Dahl's THE WITCHES, and updates of FRANKENSTEIN and DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.

Then there's the long list of things he's been interested in or associated with in the past: Marvel's DR. STRANGE, DC's DEADMAN, HATERS, SATURN AND THE END OF DAYS, a remake of the TV series THE CHAMPIONS, and pet project THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. Plus he's writing more novels to follow "The Strain" and is developing his own horror label at Disney.

Whatever he does, it shouldn't be too long before we hear -- when prompted by Hero Complex, del Toro succinctly replied "TBD very soon!"

Extra Tidbit: So who would you like to see direct THE HOBBIT, and what should del Toro do next?
Source: various

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