Guillermo del Toro has announced he is leaving The Hobbit due to the uncertain situation with MGM. As most of you are aware, MGM is up for sale, and until the sale is resolved, no start date can be set for The Hobbit. This situation has pushed the original start date back from this summer to who knows when. Also, even though Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Guillermo del Toro have turned in screenplays and have tons of details worked out for the production, they are stuck playing a waiting game until the sale goes through.
As a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro, I could not be more disappointed to hear this news. But there is a silver lining, as del Toro has a ton of other projects in development and his release from The Hobbit means he’ll be able to move quickly onto something else.
For more on The Hobbit – including statements from del Toro and Peter Jackson, hit the jump:
The news of del Toro leaving The Hobbit comes from theonering.net and they got some quotes from the filmmakers. Here is what del Toro said and further down is Peter Jackson:
“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. 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 wish 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.”
Peter Jackson said:
“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 [sic] into the scripts and designs of these two films, which are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA.”
“Guillermo is co-writing the Hobbit screenplays with Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and myself, and happily our writing partnership will continue for several more months, until the scripts are fine tuned and polished…New Line and Warner Bros will sit down with us this week, to ensure a smooth and uneventful transition, as we secure a new director for the Hobbit. We do not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work.”
del Toro is attached to a ton of projects like Death: The High Cost of Living, Frankenstein, Drood, The Orphanage, The Witches, and a ton of others things in Hollywood. I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll hear what he’s going to do next. Personally, I wouldn’t be upset if he decided to go with Hellboy 3!
The Hobbit is still being planned as two movies with the tentative release date for the first one December 2012. Of course that date is not certain until the MGM sale is finalized and shooting moves forward. More as we hear it.