Ok, before we start talking about the Entertainment Weekly scoop on Sam Raimi and ‘The Hobbit,’ lets recap: New Line Cinema which owns rights to ‘The Hobbit,’ the prequel story to ‘Lord of the Rings doesn’t see eye-to-eye with ‘Lord of the Rings’ master Peter Jackson.
Rift started when Jackson announced he was not pleased with New Line producers of his “Rings” trilogy because of “improper accounting practices” of “Ring” profits. He reportedly has taken legal action.
MGM, who has no beef with Jackson only has distribution rights for the pic.
While Jackson and producing partner Fran Walsh have announced they will not discuss making the prequel until legal matters with New Line are settled New Line has announced it will proceed into Hobbitland without Jackson at the helm.
New Line exec’s Mark Ordesky, who moved the Rings trilogy through the mini-major, claims they have a limited time option on the film’s rights obtained from Saul Zaentz. And since the legal dispute with Jackson is not making any headway, the studio needs to move ahead with the project, sans the director.
Enter Sam Raimi.
Allegedly Raimi was approached by New Line Cinema late last year about doing the “Rings” prequel, but no deal was struck.
Now Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Raimi is talking – indicating that he was seriously interested in directing ‘The Hobbit.’
In an interview with EW, Raimi is quoted as saying, “”Peter Jackson might be the best filmmaker on the planet right now. But, um, I don’t know what’s going to happen next for me. First and foremost, those are Peter Jackson and Bob Shaye’s films. If Peter didn’t want to do it, and Bob wanted me to do it — and they were both okay with me picking up the reins — that would be great. I love the book. It’s maybe a more kid-friendly story than the others.”
Now all this would be fine and dandy if it happened, oh say around last Christmas or New Year, but now, on the eve of Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 preem, we have to stop and ask, is this another ploy by a studio to sell more box-office tickets?
“Oh, mommy there is not going to be any more Spidey movies because the director has run off to make The Hobbit, lets go see it again before there is no more Spidey,” (me being sarcastic).
And to fan the fire, so-to-say, EW is also quoting Spidey love interest Kirsten Dunst saying that she could not imagine returning for Spidey 4 without both her director and co-star (Spider-Man himself Tobey Maguire is rumored to be tired of spinning webs).
”It’s disrespectful to the whole team, I think, to do that (stay on if Raimi and Maguire quit), said Dunst. “And audiences aren’t stupid. It’d be a big flop without me, Tobey, or Sam. That would really not be the smartest move. But they know that already. (Sony prez) Amy Pascal would never do that.”
“Scarlett (Mary Jane – Dunst): Rhett, Rhett… Rhett, (or in this case Sam, Sam, Sam) if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?
Rhett Butler (Sam Raimi): Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (‘Gone with the Wind’- 1939)
Sony’s President of Production Matt Tolmach told EW that the studio is “cautiously optimistic” about retaining the Spider-Man team
”Listen, we’re making Spider-Man 4. Our hope, dream, and intention is to do it with Sam. But I don’t have a crystal ball,” said Tolmach.
“Yeah, sure,” wink-wink.. Go out and see ‘Spider-Man 3 a few times and then we’ll release something more for the press to “buzz” about.
Spider-Man 3 opens soon EVERYWHERE.