What’s Up With THE HOBBIT?


With a couple of small stories hit the web over the weekend all relating to producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming, two film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, here’s an omnibus roundup of what is being reported.Despite some buzz that had been circulating late last week, producer Jackson told Empire that there would not be an announcement at San Diego Comic Con this week as to who will be taking the lead role of titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

No, we won’t be announcing Bilbo for a little while. We’re starting to think about casting, but we’re knee-deep in the script right now. And when we do go to actors, they’re probably going to ask to see a script, so we’re powering ahead with getting the first draft done.

In the most recent rumors, Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy and David Tennant were all being mooted as possible choices for the part of Bilbo. Lord Of The Rings cast members Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving are confirmed as returning to the franchise to reprise their roles for the two-part prequel.

rebuildinghobbiton1TheOneRing, work has begun in restoring the New Zealand exterior location used in the Lord Of The Rings for the Baggins’ family homestead of Bag End with the planting of some hedgerows and fruit trees. Although actual shooting is probably still months away, this is not too surprising a move on the part of Jackson and del Toro. For the production of Rings, Jackson had Hobbiton “built” months before he used the outdoor set for shooting in order to give much of the plant life that was brought in time to grow and look more natural.

Meanwhile, all these preparation may be for naught, if a lawsuit filed by the Tolkien estate is successful. The Guardian is reporting that the heirs to the Tolkien estate have filed suit against Rings-studio New Line, claiming that they are still due $220 million in profit sharing from the nearly $6 billion that the three films have brought in through theatrical exhibition and home video. The suit also requests that the film rights revert back to the Tolkien estate as New Line’s lack of payment constitutes a breach of contract.

You would think that New Line would have learned its lesson by now. They have been sued over profits on the films twice before- in 2005 they had to pay out $168 million to former Rings film rights holder Saul Zaentz and in 2007 they reached an undisclosed settlement with Jackson over his share of the profits from the trilogy.

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About Rich Drees 7211 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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