While nothing has been officially signed just yet, it sounds like a lock that Hellboy 2 director and all around cool guy Guillermo del Toro will take over the directorial reigns from Lord of the Rings trilogy mastermind Peter Jackson and helm the two planned Hobbit films for New Line. Today’s announcement in the trades comes after much speculation, beginning last December when Jackson and New Line finally settled their disagreements over profit participation for the prior billion-dollar grossing Tolkien adaptations. Other directors that have been tossed around for the Hobbit projects include Spiderman 3‘s Sam Raimi and Children of Men‘s Alfonso Cuaron.
Each film is said to have a lavish budget of $150 million, and filming is scheduled to begin simultaneously on both in 2009, with a release in 2010 for The Hobbit, and 2011 for the untitled mystery meat film that is rumored to connect The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. Can you imagine what del Toro might pull out of his brain and realize on screen with $300 million? Sheeesh.
All in all, I feel this is the best choice, almost like it was meant to be.