Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Direct The Hobbit, Will Work on Screenplay

Guillermo Del Toro has formally stepped down from his directing duties on The Hobbit films but will continue to co-write the screenplays with Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson.

The announcement came today via TheOneRing.Net and was accompanied by the following somber yet grateful statement from Del Toro.

“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.”

It’s a shame to see Del Toro have to leave the project after investing so much in it but you can’t fault the guy for wanting to double his commitment to living and working in New Zealand from 3 years to 6. I’d like to think his 2 years put into the art and look of the film will be carried forward by the new director and the finished films will still resemble a “Del Toro” production.

According to producer Peter Jackson, the next step is to sit down with New Line and Warner Bros. next week to begin the search for a new director. Even if Mr. or Mrs. right is quickly found, MGM is still without a suitor so The Hobbit remains without a green light and start date.

As for Del Toro, he is now free to leave New Zealand and look at other projects which might include The Witches, Frankenstein, Pinocchio or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, amongst others we may not even know about yet.

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