In the weeks following Guillermo Del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit movies, names like David Yates, Brett Ratner and David Dobkin were thrown around as possible replacements (as well as Neill Blomkamp, but he ruled himself out), much to the chagrin of fans, but now it seems that after much speculation and denial, Peter Jackson will end up directing the movies himself.
THR reports that despite the fact that he’d only ever intended to produce and co-write the screenplay for the two-part adaptation, he’s now in official negotations to take on the directing job. Warner Bros apparently didn’t do a full-on search for a new director following Del Toro’s surprise departure, as they wanted to exert all their efforts trying to get Jackson to return to Middle Earth. And it appears their wooing worked.
On that score, Jackson may have slightly boxed himself into a corner, as when Del Toro left, the Lord Of The Rings helmer said “If that’s what I have to do [direct the movies] to protect Warner Bros’ investment, then obviously that’s one angle which I’ll explore. The other studios may not let me out of the contracts.” While that made it fairly clear that he wasn’t 100% keen on returning to the world of Hobbits as director, it opened the door for Warner to say they did indeed want him to protect their investment and make the movies. After all, he’s the obvious choice.
Negotiations are likely to not only include talk about pay, but also commitments Jackson has on other movies, which would have to be postponed or cancelled. The Hobbit shoot is scheduled to last over a year, which would mean he can’t, for example, shoot the motion capture part of a Tintin movie, which he’s supposed to be doing next year. Deadline adds that Jackson has been busy trying extricate things from these commitments, with more pressure put on him to direct by the fact that cash-strapped co-producer MGM is apparently only likely to allow the Hobbit shoot to start before the end of the year if Jackson is helming.
In many ways it’s great to hear that he probably will end up directing the films, but you’ve got to wonder if his heart will really be in it, considering it seems he’s more been manoeuvred into helming the films, rather than having a passion to do it. And will that have an effect on the finished product.