I want MGM to sort out its financial mess not because it will put movies like The Hobbit and James Bond 23 back into production (although that would be nice), but so I won’t have to do every stupid Hobbit-director rumor that’s coming along. The latest rumor: TheOneRing reports Neill Blomkamp (District 9) is attached to direct the flick. Blomkamp joins directors David Yates, David Dobkin, and Brett Ratner as candidates rumored for the gig now that Guillermo del Toro has left the project. However, Warner Bros. and MGM’s top choice is Peter Jackson. I don’t buy TheOneRing’s story about Blomkamp directing, but they’re spot on about Jackson not wanting to direct The Hobbit and that’s why he hired del Toro in the first place.
Hit the jump for why Blomkamp or any other director isn’t being hired for The Hobbit at the moment.
While TheOneRing makes a strong argument for Blomkamp being hired, the truth of the matter is no one has the gig and no one (other than Peter Jackson) is going to get the gig until MGM gets its finances in order. The reason Jackson is an attractive hire isn’t just because he directed The Lord of the Rings, but because he’s already involved as a producer and co-writer. But no outside director can be hired because that would fall under a budget decision and MGM has no money. And even if a director did sign on, they’d be in the same predicament as del Toro when he left: there is no start date in sight. Directing The Hobbit is about as high-profile as it can get for a director, but it doesn’t matter when you’re doing endless pre-production and watch other projects pass you by as you wait for the greenlight.
So can we please just put the speculation on hold? I can believe that Blomkamp is on a shortlist. I believe that someone on that shortlist will get the job once the finances and rights are worked out. But until then, no one is attached to direct. Here, let me say it again: no one is attached to direct. The only one who could attach himself at this point is Jackson and he doesn’t want the job and I don’t blame him. In the meantime, rumors will keep spilling out of Middle-Earth.