Del Toro in talks to direct The Hobbit movies
By M&C Jan 29, 2008, 2:36 GMT
Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro is set to direct back-to-back installments of JRR Tolkien\'s The Hobbit, according to Variety Monday. EPA/SEAN MASTERSON
Los Angeles - Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro could be set to direct back-to-back installments of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, according to Variety Monday.
The movies, which could put billions of dollars at stake for New Line Cinema and MGM, will be produced by Peter Jackson, who directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Del Toro has previously demonstrated his skill at fantasy filmmaking with movies such as Oscar-nominated Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Blade 2 and The Devil's Backbone.
Because of the Writers' Guild of America strike, no writer has been hired to adapt Tolkien's children's classic, though that process will be fast-tracked once the strike is resolved.
Del Toro and Jackson will oversee the writing process, and principal photography is tentatively set for 2009. The production budget is estimated at 150 million dollars per film. The release of the first film is slated for 2010 and the second for 2011.
Hobbit, which Tolkien initially wrote for his children, was published in the UK in 1937. It centred on Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who joins a group of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf on a quest to reclaim the dwarves' treasure that has been taken by a dragon named Smaug. Along the way they meet trolls, wolves, goblins, giant spiders and become embroiled in a huge battle.
Tolkien went on to write The Lord of the Rings 17 years later.