Shakedown in Middle-earth over 'The Hobbit'

After years of battles over the film rights, it looks like Peter Jackson won’t be adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit after all. Blame it on a dark force even more powerful than the One Ring: Hollywood contract law. Jackson and better half Fran Walsh announced yesterday that New Line has effectively booted them from the project because of the still-unresolved lawsuit the filmmakers filed seeking profits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy they claim the studio still owes them. Tricksy accountants!

We’ll allow you a moment for wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yes, Jackson would have been the perfect director for the Rings prequel; he probably still has the hobbit village set from LOTR all ready to shoot. But he’s not the only director on (Middle-)earth who could handle the job. I’d love to see what Alfonso Cuarón or Guillermo del Toro could do with the tale. Quick, PopWatchers, now’s your chance to tell the studio who should direct The Hobbit, as well as who should star in it (let’s assume Ian Holm, who played the 111-year-old Bilbo Baggins in LOTR, is too old to play a version of the character who’s 60 years younger.) Let your voice be heard, or else roll the 20-sided dice and take your chances.

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  • Ep Sato

    I’d like Gary Gygax (inventor of Dungeons and Dragons) to do the script, Elmore (the guy who does all the drawings in Dungeons and Dragons) to do the set pieces, and for them to do it under the guidance of Guillermo Del Toro.
    While we are at it, how about some brown people in this one? I’d dig seeing a black actor play Frodo (what about the short dude who was in “Bad Santa”?), or at least one of the elves or something to be an hermano.
    That all said, the animated version of the Hobbit movie kicks total azz.

  • brandonk

    I’d want it to be consistent with the established world, and I doubt that would be feasible without Jackson and Co. involved. Very disappointing news.

  • Anna

    I don’t think it would work with anyone else for SO many reasons. It’s too bad that New Line gave up like that. I think it’s a huge mistake on their part. Peter Jackson is synonymous with Lord of the Rings and nothing they can do will change that.

  • Jordan Gray

    Martin Freeman should play bilbo. period.

  • jane

    New Line is not showing business savvy. Sure they don’t want to share anymore profits with Jackson, because corporations are greedy. But there is a lot of money to be made from a new trilogy. I can’t believe that they’re going to let greed get in the way of future profits.

  • Mozz

    Frankly, if peter jackson doesn’t do it, I’m not gonna watch it. I will be happy to play my Lord of the Ring DVDs and pretend the Hobbit movie does not exist… I mean, the man brought 11 oscars to New Line… not to mention millions and millions. if this is the way they treat him, then I will look very carefully at the studios who make the movies I will support.

  • Vicki

    I would TOTALLY be happy if Alfonso Cuarón took it on. He did wonders with The Prisoner of Azkaban. I think he’s be a great GREAT fit!

  • Jake

    I’d like to a rendention of The Hobbit with an all African-American cast. I envision something approaching the quality of The Wiz but more of a hip-hop feel. Word.

  • Laura

    If Peter Jackson and co. don’t do The Hobbit, then there is absolutely no reason for me to watch it.
    The man and his team are total geniuses – hello, 11 Oscars for ROTK! And the world and visual style he established are so perfectly synonymous with LOTR that any director trying to change or alter that world will fail miserably. And even if the director tries to copy the world they will still pale considerably in comparison to Jackson, whose unique fantasy directing style has caused many to imitate him but none to surpass him.
    Grrrr, sorry, but this is a really stupid and BAD decision on New Line’s part. What a greedy studio. What a waste.

  • Dana

    what’s really embarrasing is that New Line is making this decision out of greed and not out of artistic integrity whatsoever. Of course, if the movie is an artistic success, that’s just happenstance, let’s all just remember that this is a business model we support, not art.

  • Sarah

    If there is no Ian McKellan as Gandalf, there is no point in making The Hobbit! Let’s hope New Line at least gets that right.

  • J.

    Can’t get Jackson, use Cuaron. I think he elevated Prisoner of Azkaban head and shoulders above the book. His Harry Potter movie is my favorite of the four movies out.

  • Ep Sato

    Beef with a lack of actors of color aside, the comments convinced me that it should be Peter Jackson. And what brought me over the edge was Sarah’s comment. She’s totally on the ball. Ian McKellan didn’t play Gandalf, he IS Gandalf. I also thought the brother was amazing in the role of Mageneto and love his work as an actor.
    Truth told though, I just want to see the movie get made. If New Line’s been screwing people over money, that’s just wrong. It’s not as if the triloy didn’t bring in a few hundred million dollars. Doesn’t that mean there’s enough to go around for everybody?

  • Beetle

    I agree with having Ian McKellan as Gandalf, but why does that require Jackson to direct? While it’d be great to see him tackle The Hobbit (and a suggested second movie that fills the blanks between it and LOTR), I’m curious to see what another director could bring. Cuarón is a great suggestion; I think Christopher Nolan would also be interesting.
    Whatever the choice, the smart move would be to tap into as much of the talent as possible (crew, locations, Weta, etc.) that Jackson used on LOTR.

  • Rebecca

    As much as I would love to see Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens do this film, I think that as long as the studio gets a team that has the same passion for the story it will be okay.
    And I second (third?) Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He’s just so ‘hobbity’!

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