"The Hobbit" is finally happening! - To go into production at MGM

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Postby MovieWes » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:41 pm

A more detailed article from 'Variety' on the announcement...

Guillermo del Toro to direct 'Hobbit'
Filmmaker signs on helm feature and sequel

By DAVE MCNARY

In a major step forward on “The Hobbit,” Guillermo del Toro has signed on to direct the New Line-MGM tentpole and its sequel.
The widely expected announcement -- which had been rumored for several weeks -- came Thursday afternoon jointly from exec producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, New Line president Toby Emmerich, and Mary Parent, newly named chief of MGM’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group.

Del Toro’s moving to New Zealand for the next four years to work with Jackson and his Wingnut and Weta production teams. He’ll direct the two films back to back, with the sequel dealing with the 60-year period between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

New Line is overseeing development and will manage production. Both pics are being co-produced and co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Bros. distributing domestically and MGM handling international.

Del Toro won’t leave for New Zealand immediately as he’s still in post-production on U’s “Hellboy 2,” due out in July. His previous pic, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” was released through New Line’s Picturehouse and set a record as the highest grossing Spanish language film in U.S. box office history.

The official signing of Del Toro comes four months after New Line settled a lawsuit with Jackson over “The Lord of the Rings” and announced that it had agreed with MGM to turn J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” into two live-action films. Sam Raimi had been preceived as the initial front-runner as director but Del Toro had emerged in recent months as the likely candidate.

The studios didn’t give a start date on production and don’t yet have a script. Though no screenplay deal’s been set, it’s expected that the “LOTR” scripting team of Jackson, Walsh and Philippa Boyens will collaborate with Del Toro.

With Del Toro blocking out four years for the project, it’s likely that the studios are aiming at starting shooting next year and releasing the films in late 2011 and 2012.

Jackson’s WETA stages, post-production and visual effects facilities -- built for “The Lord of the Rings” -- will be used for both films. And New Zealand will again be the site of Middle-earth, with the story centering on Bilbo Baggins taking the Ring of Power from Gollum.
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:35 pm

We already knew it, but now it's finally official...

Guillermo del Toro to direct 'The Hobbit' and sequel

20 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Guillermo del Toro is directing "The Hobbit" and its sequel, New Line Cinema announced Thursday. The 43-year-old filmmaker will move to New Zealand for four years to make the films back-to-back with executive producer Peter Jackson.

Del Toro wrote and directed "Pan's Labyrinth," which earned six Oscar nominations in 2006 and won three awards. He is also the director of the upcoming sequel "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," whose monsters bear the unmistakeable surreal vision of the Mexican-born filmmaker.

"I am indeed blessed to become a part of the filmmaking community that Peter, Fran and their extraordinary team of collaborators have created in New Zealand," del Toro said in a statement. "Contributing to the 'Lord of the Rings' legacy is an absolute dream come true."

Jackson and Walsh called del Toro "a cinematic magician who has never lost his childlike sense of wonder."

"We have long admired Guillermo's work and cannot think of a more inspired filmmaker to take the journey back to Middle-Earth," they said in a statement.

Jackson co-wrote, co-produced and directed the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which won 17 Oscar and 30 nominations.

---

Please note that this version DELETES INCORRECT reference to second movie spanning time between "Hobbit" and "Rings"; New Line now says movies are based on book only.




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Postby Zahveed » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:01 pm

Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit Films
Source: Empire Online February 14, 2008


Empire caught up today with Guillermo del Toro, who told the magazine that he is still not fully signed for The Hobbit and its sequel.

"I wish it was definite, but it isn't," he said. "It's still in talks, there are still a lot of 'T's to cross and 'I's to dot. It's certainly not certain yet…But, as far as I'm concerned, [if it was definite] I would be packed in ten seconds."

He's not worried at this time about the lawsuit that was revealed earlier this week, but he did say he would love to bring back actors from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy whose characters appear in the new films.

"Yeah, absolutely. I've been pretty much incredibly open about the things that I love and don't love in the past. I've turned down huge franchises in the past because there are parts of that world I don't gel with. The reason I took 'Blade II' is because I love the characters that Stephen Norrington created and the actors he used. That times ten is the reason why I'm interested in 'The Hobbit.'"
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Postby Sonic Youth » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:24 pm

It ain't "related", bub. This is THE story. The Tolkein estate could put an end to this project once and for all. Good for them, considering how shoddily they were treated.

And people still wonder why the film companies were recently struck.
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Postby Zahveed » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:48 pm

Some related news...

Tolkien Estate Sues New Line
Source: ComingSoon.net, The Tolkien Trust February 12, 2008


The estate of "Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien is suing New Line Cinema, claiming the company failed to pay a cut of gross profits for the blockbuster films. Here is today's statement from The Tolkien Trust:

The trustees of The Tolkien Trust, a British charity, have filed an action against New Line Cinema for its failure to pay a contractually required gross profit participation in the three films based on the world-famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. The trustees of the estate of JRR Tolkien and HarperCollins Publishers are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The suit was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The Lord of the Rings films produced by New Line are among the most financially successful films ever created by Hollywood and were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively. The cumulative worldwide gross receipts to date total nearly $6 billion. Notwithstanding the overwhelming financial success of the films, and the fact that the plaintiffs have a gross participation in each of the films, New Line has failed to pay the plaintiffs any portion of the gross profit participation at all.

The trustees' UK lawyer, Steven Maier, of Manches LLP, said: "The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court. But in this case, New Line has left them no option at all. New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures. To make matters worse, to date New Line has even prevented the plaintiffs from auditing the last two films of the series. The trustees are very aggrieved by New Line's arrogance."

The complaint seeks, among other things, in excess of $150 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages, and a declaration from the Court that the plaintiffs have a right to terminate any further rights New Line may have to the Tolkien works under the agreements, including The Hobbit, due to the serious and material nature of the breach of the agreements.

Bonnie Eskenazi, the trustees' US counsel who filed the complaint, said, "New Line has brought new meaning to the phrase 'creative accounting.' I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue to a jury that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator's heirs, who are entitled to a share of gross receipts, don't get a penny."

JRR Tolkien is the world-renowned author of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit." The Tolkien Trust is a UK registered charity that has made grants to charitable causes all over the world totaling over $8 million in the last five years alone.
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Postby HarryGoldfarb » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:43 pm

From cinemablend.com

Guillermo del Toro Says Hobbit Not Certain
By Josh Tyler: 2008-02-04 15:20:09

With all the rumors flying around it’s become almost a foregone conclusion that Guillermo del Toro will be directing New Line’s 2 picture, movie version of The Hobbit. Well hold your hobbits just a minute. Maybe not.

Guillermo delivered some reality to Total Film over the weekend where he told them, “negotiations have not ended and The Hobbit is not a sure thing.” We knew negotiations were ongoing, but people have been throwing around his name so much it’s easy to forget that. He continues, “I think what happens very often is that these rumours have a way of becoming real or not. I don't expect The Hobbit to be troublesome. But you know, then again, it may never happen... or it may!”

Odds are still that del Toro will indeed direct The Hobbit, but until he has a deal don’t count your dwarf diamonds while they’re still in the cave with Smaug. As The One Ring suggests, this will likely all be cleared up when the writer’s strike gets settled.
-----------

Nonetheless, wikipedia states that "On January 31st 2008 it was confirmed that Del Toro would indeed direct the Hobbit". This is the source...

From Film.guardian.co.uk
Del Toro to take charge of The Hobbit
Staff and agencies
Thursday January 31, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

No small challenge ... Guillermo del Toro is to direct two Hobbit films. Photograph: Sarah Lee

Guillermo del Toro has officially signed up to direct The Hobbit, according to reports leaking out from a film premiere in France. The Pan's Labyrinth creator will oversee a double-bill of films based on JRR Tolkien's fantasy adventure, which paved the way for The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson, director of the Oscar-winning Rings trilogy, will serve as executive producer.
The announcement was made at last night's French premiere of The Orphanage, a Spanish horror film that Del Toro helped produce. Introducing the film-maker, the host told the audience: "Today is a big day because we are announcing what everyone wanted to hear, which is that he will be directing The Hobbit." Del Toro had previously been reported to be in negotiations to take charge of the project.
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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:49 pm

Good point
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:07 pm

Just a suggestion, but this thread should be moved to the Films of 2009 forum.
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:50 pm

What about crew people?

Obviously, Howard Shore should score the two films. It just wouldn't be a Middle-Earth adventure without his scores.

And while we're at it, the WETA team behind "The Lord of the Rings" should be involved. Richard Taylor needs to do the creature designs/special effects/makeup, and since Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are involved, you can bet on that. On that note, Alan Lee and John Howe need to be involved with the art direction.

Andrew Lesnie did a beautiful job lensing the "Rings" trilogy, but he doesn't necessarily need to do the cinematography on "The Hobbit". Guillermo Navarro, likewise, did a wonderful job on "Pan's Labyrinth" and would be well-suited for a project like "The Hobbit". He's also Guillermo del Toro's DP of choice, so he will probably be the one lensing "The Hobbit" anyway.

Ngila Dickson did a bang-up job designing the costumes for "Lord of the Rings" and I would love for her to be asked back for "The Hobbit". I don't think that anyone else could do the things she did for LOTR, so why not keep her? Could Lala Huete, the costume designer for "Pan's Labyrinth", do as good a job as her? Probably not. Anyway, Dickson is a Kiwi and Huete is Mexican, and since the two "Hobbit" pictures are going to be filmed in New Zealand, it'd be better to fuel the local economy than bring in a foreigner.
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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:42 pm

What I imagine will happen is at some point when Gandalf rejoins the adventurers, he'll explain where he was (off fighting the necromancer) and then show it. It would then give Viggo the chance to reprise his role since Gandalf and Aragorn were said to be involved in the assault as were Galadriel and Elrond if I remember correctly (maybe not Elrond, I don't remember it in detail anymore)

Ian McShane did well voicing the enemy bear in The Golden Compass, perhaps he would do well as Smaug. But are they going with someone deep-voiced or perhaps someone a bit more slithery...I could actually imagine them giving that part to Christopher Lee, though it might create confusion with Sarumon.
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:16 pm

Ian McKellen is reprising his role as Gandalf. Peter Jackson told him that whether or not he (Jackson) directed it, he (McKellen) had to play Gandalf and McKellen agreed. The only thing left is for New Line and MGM to offer McKellen the role again, and I can't think that they wouldn't.

As of right now, Martin Freeman (The Office UK and The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy) is the frontrunner to play Bilbo. Another name being tossed around by fans is Barnaby Holm, Ian's son. However, seeing as he hasn't been in a movie since the 80s, he probably won't be offered the role.

Andy Serkis has said many times that he would love to play Gollum again if he's offered the role.

If McKellen and Serkis are re-signed (or even Ian Holm), I'm sure that Hugo Weaving will sign on again as Elrond.

Since Guillermo del Toro is likely directing, I'm guessing that Doug Jones will play a role in the film. The question at this point is who will he play? My guess is that he would play a bunch of different creature parts (kind of like Lawrence Makaore did in "The Lord of the Rings"), especially the King Goblin.

I wouldn't be surprised if John Rhys-Davies played one of the dwarves in this movie. He'd most likely play Gloin, Gimli's father. A British thespian with a rich, deep voice should play Thorin. Perhaps Brian Blessed?

Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler could reprise their roles as Legolas and Arwen since the story takes place in both Mirkwood and Rivendell. There's talk that Bloom could even play Thranduil, Legolas's father, but I wouldn't want that. I think that someone like Clancy Brown, Thomas Kretschmann, or Bill Nighy would do a better job (I wouldn't be surprised if Kretschmann was cast in the film since he's worked with both Jackson and del Toro on King Kong and Blade II/Hellboy 2, respectively).

I wouldn't be surprised if they cast Ron Perlman as Bard.

John Hurt could play the Master of Lake-town. He's worked with del Toro twice (both Hellboy movies) and he's got street cred playing Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter.

As for the voice of Smaug, who knows? Fanboys want Jeremy Irons, but I don't. Too obvious a choice. I know that Jackson and del Toro can find someone better.

Gwahir doesn't need a voice. He didn't talk in "The Lord of the Rings" movies and he doesn't need to talk in this. The book was aimed at children, but the movie should be more in tune to the vision of Jackson's films. Making Gwahir talk would be so Narnian.

If they add the appendices to the story, that would open up roles for Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Marton Csokas, and Viggo Mortensen.




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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:56 pm

Let's talk casting.

Will Ian McKellen reprise his role? He said he wouldn't if Peter wasn't directing, but he's producing, so that might be enough to get him back. Are they going to let Ian Holm play the younger baggins or are they going to try to recast with a new actor in the role?

Will John Rhys Davies play any of the dwarves? if he does, will he play his own character's ancestor Gloin?

Will Andy Serkis do Gollum again? Since he has that and King Kong to speak of for a career (the rest of his work has been awful), I doubt he would turn down the opportunity.

None of the rest of the characters have a tie to the story, except maybe Legolas who comes from the Sylvan elves that make up the middle section of the story. Will they try to put him in as a cameo?

They are going to need a huge cast. There are a dozen dwarves that go on this expedition with Bilbo.

Who will the cast as Bard or any of the other men of Dale? Will they cut out the shapechanger?

Who would voice Gwahir?
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:23 pm

I think that The Hobbit could easily be split up into two films if they added in content from the ROTK appendices. If they ended the first movie in Mirkwood after the Spider battle (just as Bilbo is entering the Elves' realm to rescue the dwarves) and picked up the second movie right when the first movie left off, it wouldn't be such a bad thing. Even though The Hobbit is shorter, it covers just as much ground as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But making a separate movie that fills in the events between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings seems like a pointless undertaking to me. The movie would have to cover some 60 years to tie everything together, and is that really necessary? Is it going to be like the Middle-Earth version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips starring Gandalf in the Robert Donat role?
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:15 pm

Zahveed wrote:oh yea, I forgot to mention that the second movie is going to be a tie-in between The Hobbit and LOTR. That's right, they're making up shit now.

???

i cannot decide if that is worse or not. making two movies out of a story that only needs one movie is bad, but i guess making up a new story is even more greedy and egotistical.




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Postby Zahveed » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:25 pm

oh yea, I forgot to mention that the second movie is going to be a tie-in between The Hobbit and LOTR. That's right, they're making up shit now.
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