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The Hobbit Director Del Toro Quits Production

del toro leaves

Guillermo Del Toro, the much anticipated director of the up and coming Hobbit movies that is set to be released in 2012, announced this morning that after two years of working on pre-production of the film, he was going to step down as the director of the films.  In an official statement to the, Del Toro said,

“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.”

Del Toro does plan to continue to co-write the screenplay for the movies and assist in any other ways he can to get the movie moving forward, however, due to his long list of other commitments and projects, he is unable to commit the extra years that may be required to complete the films.  With recent debt problems with MGM, the large shareholder in the film, production was expected to be quite delayed.  Jackson said that Del Toro was unable to commit 6 years in New Zealand to shoot the films, which was double to the first expected three years that was originally anticipated.  Del Toro went on to say,

“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.”

Del Toro’s announcement is devastating to Tolkien fans across the country.  With Jackson himself not being considered for the director role, there was much anxiety when awaiting who would be the one behind the lens.  Del Toro’s track record was a perfect fit to the creation of Middle Earth and continuing in the legacy that Peter Jackson began with The Lord of the Rings.  Jackson gave his own statement where he understood Del Toro’s decision and said they were committed to finding a replacement as soon as possible and that they do not expect any production delays.  Obviously the first question is will Peter Jackson take on the project as director?  As the answer still remains to be no, due to many projects and commitments of his own, he holds a large stake in the franchise and I would not be surprised to see him step up to the plate.  One replacement that immediately comes to mind is Alfonso Cuarón (a good friend of Del Toro).  His visual sensation with Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as Children of Men show that he has the creative mind to fill the shoes. We will keep all Hobbit fans updated on the process and lets hope for the best!