Guillermo del Toro drops out of directing 'The Hobbit'

deltoroGuillermo del Toro will no longer direct The Hobbit, but will continue for the next several months to polish the scripts for the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel alongside Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh. Del Toro made the announcement Sunday via the J.R.R. Tolkien fan site TheOneRing.net.

“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,” Del Toro said. “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.”

Jackson, who said he’ll sit down with New Line and Warner Bros. execs this week to start securing a new director, added the following: “We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave The Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control – has compromised his commitment to other long term projects. The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I’ve ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him. Guillermo’s strong vision is engrained into the scripts and designs of these two films, which are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA.”

Jackson does not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work. The films, co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM, are scheduled for release in December 2012 and December 2013.

Read more:
Why Guillermo del Toro left ‘The Hobbit’ — and Peter Jackson will not replace him as director
Guillermo del Toro: 14 Influences That Shaped My Style


Comments (66 total) Add your comment
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  • Lanny

    As a big fan of Del Toro and the LOTR movies i’m sorry to hear this. I was looking forward to his vison of middle earth. Well here’s hoping a fantastic director is there to take the reins.

    • Kat

      Why doesn’t Peter Jackson direct???

      • kergen

        I don’t think Jackson wants to direct The Hobbit. Any time a director’s heart isn’t in a project, the results are always disappointing (see: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

        Dividing The Hobbit into two films was always a bad idea. Its a simple story. It doesn’t need two films. When they started having delays, they should have went back to one film.

  • Sia

    Well that sucks ! I like the LOTR movies but I wasn’t that invested in it but I feel bad for the fans who are. Maybe Peter will do it?

  • Rahul

    Jackson should step in.

    • Skip182

      Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins:

      “Peter has and has had obligations and commitments to other films that would make it impossible for him to direct The Hobbit at this time, even if it was offered, which it hasn’t been. “I’ve been quietly working on setting up a film for him to direct while Guillermo would have been directing The Hobbit. What you saw in their respective statements must be taken at face value. All of that said, Peter and Fran’s commitment to The Hobbit is total and they will do everything necessary to protect the franchise and the investment made by New Line, Warners and MGM.”

    • MICHAEL BAY PELEASE

      He has the proven track record. Toro is to ESOTERIC.

  • Keith

    I agree, Peter Jackson is the one who should have been directing all along!

  • 4k4k

    As much as I want to see this, another sign that this will never be made in the coming years. Del Toro would have been perfect for The Hobbit and I don’t know if another director could capture his vision.

    • tvgirl48

      This was my concern as well. The movie needed a director who could make a dark fantasy world like Jackson’s, and Del Toro was perfect for that. I was eager to see what he would do, but I guess we’ll never know what Del Toro’s Hobbit would look like.

      • kergen

        Really? Why does The Hobbit have to be ‘dark’. I’m quite familiar with the book, and it doesn’t read as particularly ‘dark’ to me. While its true that doom and dread permeate the LotR trilogy, The Hobbit is a more innocent story. Its a fairy tale…. not that fairy tales are all kid’s stuff.

    • Hank

      I was so excited for Del Toro because I love The Hobbit and I thought he was the perfect choice. That said, there are a couple of guys out there that are not Jackson that might be good; Alfonso Cuaron, Fernando Meirelles, and Ang Lee to name a few. Thoughts?

      • Jack

        Cuaron would be my 1st choice too. His 3rd Harry Potter was phenom & the most poetic and dark in the series. The man would bring it. Via con Dios, Senor Del Toro… good try…

      • kergen

        Cuaron would be a fine director, but he’s also an artist, and he wants to have control over his pictures. He won’t accept this assignment because he won’t have creative control. Whomever they hire to replace Del Toro will have to pick up where Del Toro left off. There is no time to go back to the drawing board. I’d wage the film falls to a no-name director, probably someone from TV. At this point, they just need someone who can manage a set and coax a good performance from the actors.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Ang Lee??? Gimme a break dude, what a horrible suggestion. Why would you suggest him, based on his horrible version of the Hulk?

  • lauren

    So, i think this is when Peter jackson steps in and becomes director again…b/c no matter how involved he is, with a different director, the films will have a different feel than the others. that’s my dream :) please jackson, come back and direct!

  • Ed

    Love Guillermo, so this is a shame. I could understand why he left though, the movie has been delayed too often.

    My guess: Peter Jackson will take over. After the critical and box office disappointments of King Kong and The Lovely Bones, it makes sense for him to return.

    • Dale

      King Kong wasn’t a critical and box office disaster? It was hugely successful in both. Go read Eberts review of it where he calls it “the definitive King Kong.”

      The Lovely Bones however was a complete misfire.

      • Josh

        Jackson’s Kong is not the definitive Kong movie. And to suggest that b/c Roger Ebert said so makes it fact is absurd. Check out rottentomatoes.com and you’ll see that the 1933 version is at 100% while the 2005 version is at 83%. And imdb.com has the 1933 version ranked #201 in it’s 250 greatest films of all time. The 2005 version isn’t in the top 250. And lastly, AFI ranks the 1933 version as #43 in their list of the 100 greatest films. So now, which is the definitive version??

      • Sal

        @Josh: Dale was just defending that King Kong was not a critical disaster by using that quote. He’s not saying it’s his own opinion. And if you step back for a minute, you’ll see there are reasons that make the 2005 version better than the 1933.

      • LOL

        Nerds can’t be bothered to spell out “because?”

      • BlackIrish4094

        It was not the definitive Kong and the fact Ebert said it is means absolutely zero to me (and to most people I would think). The Jackson Kong film was LOUSY regardless of it’s box office numbers.

  • Matt

    Either Jackson steps in to direct, or just cancel the project all together. New Line would be complete idiots if they hired a director who has only directed musicals or music videos. Back in 2006 or ’07 New Line and Jackson stopped arguing with each other due to the unpaid fees to Jackson from the profits to the 1st LOTR movie. One of the stipulations in the contract was apparently Jackson could write/produce, but New Line wanted their own choice as to who would direct. If this is true they really should forget about the last part and offer Jackson as much as he desires to film it. Both parties need each other. After LOTR, Jackson has directed a pretty lame Kong movie and a disater in the lovely bnes, while New Line really hasn’t had a hit movie since.

    • Meredith

      Totally. They should just pay the man whatever it takes – it’s not like they’ll lose money buy paying him something ridiculous, since the movies will be HUGE at the box office. New Line: JUST PAY PETER AND GET ON WITH IT! (And I really enjoyed King Kong!)

  • Del Taco

    list of filmmakers that should direct The Hobbit :

    Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, Uwe Bowl, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Larry Clark, Joel Schumacher. Zalman King

    • J.

      Your sense of humor is wicked and cruel.

    • Alex

      You forgot McG

      • Justin

        I hope that list is a joke Del Taco!

    • Kate

      *snicker*

      Zalman King – ‘Red Foot Hobbit’ or maybe ‘9 1/2 Hobbits’

      Any of your choices would be great for ‘Bored of the Rings’, though.

    • Nathan

      Michael Bay would be hilarious, I wonder what a Middle Earth Pentagon would look like.

  • potvin

    For continuity Jackson needs to direct.

    • HGF

      Jackson’s influence will be there, but I think that a different director will allow these films to stand on their own instead of being compared to the LOR trilogy. Get Cuaron or Meirelles.

  • AUSTIN

    Well with all the backstage drama, I knew it was a matter of time. Sucks! Such a waste of talent. I hope they don’t give it to a Twilight director, cause then for sure I will self-explode.

    • Niix Starkyller

      Forget all that nonsense. SIX YEARS?!

  • jason

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Keith

    Well, sh*t. Really sorry to hear this. But I agree with some of the other posters. Jackson needs to step up and direct it. What director, truly GOOD director, is going to be willing to move to New Zealand and exclusively work on this project for the next 6 years. It’s a lot to ask and Jackson is probably the only one out there with the kind of emotional investment and skill needed to make it rise to the level of the LOTR trilogy.

    • film4future

      For someone up and coming, it could make their career. 3 years in New Zealand is a dream. Plus, you’d have a huge hit on your hands and connections to the WETA studio for life.

  • Will

    I never wanted del Toro to direct The Hobbit. I’m sorry, but it was Peter Jackson who brought Tolkien’s world to life. I think Peter should be the one to direct.

    • Erin

      Completely agree, I’ve always thought that while del toro is a good director he would have ruined the hobbitvwith his vision. There would not have been any continuity to the last films.

  • Sharlin

    Why doesn’t Peter just direct it? I think this is a sign from up above.

    • Baco Noir

      Sharlin, the only sign from above is that this film(s) may never get made at all. With MGM up to its ar@e in debt, there is a chance it will never be made (MGM is a major rights holder of the project). Don’t hold your breath. That’s why del Toro bailed. Sad news, that. BTW, to others, King Kong is a wonderful film (and a huge hit). Lovely Bones was a serious botch with an interesting first hour. However, if you think either of these films ‘flopped’, check boxofficemojo.com. When international box office is included, LB was actually a very moderate (VERY) hit. It’s made more than $30 million more than it’s original budget.

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