It seems like every week there's a new report that The Hobbit is ready to go, and then another report that it's held up. MGM, who owns some rights to a Hobbit film, faces financial troubles that keep things in limbo. Even though Deadline reported a November start date, director Guillermo del Toro says he hasn't heard anything firm.
"You know, there cannot be any start date, really, until the MGM situation gets resolved, because they do hold a considerable portion of the rights," del Toro said in a conference call on May 27 while he was promoting Splice. "It's impossible to take a unilateral decision by New Line or Warners to give the green light to proceed. We really believe that things will be known after the fact of MGM's fate. Whether they stay and they get supported or they get bought or they transfer some of the rights, nobody knows. We've been caught in a very tangled negotiation."
When that resolution comes, del Toro is ready to start shooting. Like, immediately. "Now I've been on the project for nearly two years," he said. "We have designed all the creatures, we have designed the sets, the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned very lengthy action sequences and scary sequences and funny sequences. We are very, very prepared for when it finally is triggered, but we don't know anything until MGM is sold."
So reports that The Hobbit is green-lighted have been greatly exaggerated. Also, reports that producer Peter Jackson is talking about 3-D are a bunch of hype. "In both counts, there are absolutely no final answers," del Toro said. "It's not green-lit. That's categorical. It is not green-lit."
The current plan only accounts for good old-fashioned 2-D filming, but anything is possible. "3-D has been discussed literally once in the room," del Toro said. "The budget and the schedule, the cost of the film, the number of days it would take to shoot, we are handling all of that right now without looking towards 3-D. So is there a chance it will become 3-D in the future? Maybe. Right now, it's not being planned as such."
The Hobbit is tentatively due out Christmas 2011, with part two following a year later.