This story is more an inevitability than anything else, but rumours have emerged that David Yates, director of the final four Harry Potter movies, is Warner’s top choice to take over The Hobbit now that Guillermo Del Toro has stepped aside.
There was little doubt Yates had to emerge as a candidate at some point, not least because he’s so attached to the biggest fantasy franchise in history and so would seem a likely choice for The Hobbit. He’s also just wrapped on shooting the final two Harry Potter movies back-to-back, proving he can handle a gargantuan shoot that takes a single movie and slips it into two films, just as The Hobbit will bo.
However, at the moment you need to take this one as speculation only, as even /Film, which broke the news, says “a few industry insider tracking boards that David Yates is supposedly the studios top choice to direct The Hobbit. Note: we have no real confirmation of any talks taking place, so for now take it all as purely rumour.”
The fact is tracking boards could just be reporting idle speculation on an inevitable name, which has built into something far more than it was ever supposed to be. For a start, while Yates has completed photography of the Harry Potters, post-production work will keep him busy to next July, meaning that is he did direct The Hobbit, it would be unlikely to start shooting until late 2011.
Would Warner be willing to hand around that long, even with MGM’s financial quagmire currently delaying things indefinitely? It’s just about possible, as there are only a few directors around who can handle this sort of thing, but it’s still unlikely. That said, with many feeling Yates’ Harry Potter work has been okay but not particularly amazing, there are likely to be few Middle Earth fans clamouring for him to get his hands on the Hobbit.