Well, it’s not really been delayed, because we’ve never announced the date. I mean it’s sort of interesting because the studio [MGM] has never greenlit ‘The Hobbit,’ so therefore ‘The Hobbit’ has never been officially announced as a “go” project, nor have we ever announced a date. But there’s so much interest that people — newspapers and magazines, of their own account, say, ah, it’s likely to film in May, it’s likely to film in June, it’s likely to film in September. People make this stuff up. And then if it’s not filming in June, you get a story saying, “‘The Hobbit’s’ been delayed.” But it’s never actually been announced.
Hit the jump to go back to our previous stories and see that he’s right. Jackson also provides updates on the current state of the production and when he hopes they can start shooting.
Here’s what Jackson said about the script he and director Guillermo Del Toro turned in last week:
We’ve just delivered the script. Literally last week, we delivered the second of the two screenplays — the first draft. So the studio’s got both scripts now, which is a milestone; and if anything was holding it up, it was us doing the screenplays, because we’d just been writing as fast as we can, but it took us this long to get them finished. So we take whatever responsibility there is for the speed. And we’re now in the process of budgeting the films, and then hopefully we’ll get to a budget the studio [people] are happy with, and they’ll greenlight the movies and we’ll announce the shooting dates. I’d be pretty optimistic that we’ll be shooting before the end of the year. I would imagine October, November, we’d be shooting by. I’m not announcing it, though.
Going back through our past stories, I saw that Jackson never contradicted himself. Here’s what Jackson said at Comic-Con:
Peter told us the first draft of the script gets delivered to the studio in 3 weeks. He went on to sale that zero casting has been done on the project and any rumors you hear are just that – rumors. He explained that they can’t start casting till they have a budget and schedule as they have to be able to tell an actor when they’d be needed. He also said the studio hasn’t officially green lit the project yet.
Peter also told us that the current plan is to release the first “Hobbit” film in December of 2011 and the second one in December of 2012. This is assuming everything comes together.
When he spoke with Steve during the press junket for The Lovely Bones, he said that he intended to have the script finished by Christmas. That obviously didn’t happen, but as he said to Moviefone, Jackson takes responsibility for the delay in turning in the script. You can see in both cases that Jackson never said they had set dates. They had plans, but nothing set in stone because A) they didn’t have their scripts finished; and B) MGM didn’t give them go ahead because the scripts weren’t finished.
Speaking to the folks at TheOneRing.net in December, Del Toro corroborated this report about not having the scripts ready or having a greenlight. The film is in pre-production but it’s because Del Toro and Jackson are funding it out of pocket right now. Here’s what Del Toro said to TheOneRing:
THAT we have not stopped. As I have reported in the past, we are scouting, designing (my last 3 hour meeting with Weta was this morning) and will not stop. BUT the greenlight and thus commencement can only be granted by the studio.” He explains, “until there are two scripts delivered and budgets and schedules to support them we will be all under a yellow light of development.”
The only conflicting statement from this new interview is when Jackson says:
I mean, any character that’s returning from ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ we obviously would love the same actors to play. But even those actors haven’t been approached yet, or there [haven't] been any deals done. And the studio wouldn’t organically do any of that until they’ve greenlit the film.
That’s odd simply because Del Toro said (in the same statement he made to The One Ring):
About ONLY 3 actors returning [from The Lord of the Rings]: I think the emphasis on “only” is what slant the news the wrong way…Both PJ and I chime in on things ‘as they are at the moment’ and, of course, things change.”
I know we’re all eager for The Hobbit to move forward, but Jackson’s right when he says everyone should slow down, take a breath, and not worry about delays for a production that’s still waiting for the go ahead.