In a surprising - but then again not so surprising - turn of events surrounding the long-mooted adaptation of The Hobbit, director Guillermo Del Toro announced over the weekend that he is bowing out of the film. He will, however, still be involved in the scripting process. Del Toro made the following statement:
"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. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I've been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. 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."
Surprising, as we say, because of what Del Toro told us about the project last week. But the film is tied up with MGM, and that studio is currently dealing with some ownership issues.
Okay, so where's the horror in the story, you ask? Well, now that Del Toro's schedule is significantly free, there are a number of genre projects on his platter awaiting his attention, namely In the Mountains of Madness and Frankenstein. In a producing capacity, Del Toro is shepherding a remake of The Orphanage and he made a deal with Disney last September.
Leaving The Hobbit is certainly going to free the man up a tad...