As Hollywood Insider reported earlier today, Peter Jackson will executive produce The Hobbit and a sequel, both set to go into pre-production as soon as possible. But although MGM president Harry Sloan told Hollywood Insider there was a chance Jackson himself might end up directing the films, Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins tells HI that was not possible:
“Peter won’t be directing the films because he felt the fans have waited long enough for The Hobbit,” Kamis said. “It will take the better part of every day of the next four years to write, direct, and produce the two Hobbit films. Given his current obligations to both The Lovely Bones and Tintin, waiting for Peter, Fran [Walsh, Jackson's life/creative partner), and Philippa [Boyens, co-writer/co-producer] to write, direct, and produce The Hobbit would require the fans wait even longer. By serving as executive producers and having approval over all creative elements of both films, Peter can ensure that the films will be made with the same intimacy and care as if they were writing and directing themselves.”
Despite rumors that Sam Raimi, Alfonso Cuarón, or Guillermo del Toro will be taking over directing duties, sources say that no decisions have been made on that subject, nor has a writer been chosen.
According to New Line co-chief Bob Shaye, the studio plans to meet with Jackson in early 2008 and begin the development process. “All decisions about writers and directors will be made in conjunction with Peter,” Shaye told HI. Another source confirmed that Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens will have director, writer, and cast approval.
It will take some time before anyone begins penning a script for The Hobbit because of the ongoing writers’ strike and Jackson’s schedule — the director is in Pennsylvania shooting The Lovely Bones until February. But surely Jackson is planning a big ole bender back in New Zealand, right? “Honestly, I haven’t talked to Peter!” said Kamins, laughing. “He just got home from Pennsylvania last night!”
– Additional reporting by Nicole Sperling