Hobbit Round Up - How Will The Two Films Be Divided, Will They Bridge To Lord Of The Rings, And Who Is Going To Play Bilbo?

In order to publicize The Strain, his new vampire novel written by with Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro has been doing an awful lot of interviews. The best, perhaps, have been with MTV, at least in terms of the off-topic news they've managed to squeeze out of the fella. Not only have they had him all but spell out where the split between two films is going to come in his telling of The Hobbit, they've even teased out a confession that, at last, Del Toro is down to a single choice in the casting of Bilbo Baggins.

The specific format of this Hobbit adaptation hasn't been too clear until now, but the following quotes from Del Toro nail it down pretty solidly:

I'm doing only two movies because I felt that that was the best way to service the book. I'm not saying the other notion was not discussed. We discussed it a large degree. But I felt that for me, the two films were the way to go.

When you read the book, there is only one place to break it really, and everybody knows it. It's been discussed in forums and there's a lot of people that are right. That's where it's going to break. So it's very simple. What we're doing is because we have the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin and all the dwarves, there is a logical place for that relationship. There is a moment in the book where something is accomplished that allows us to say, 'Okay, on to the next one after this.'

As for the inclusion of material from the appendices, it seems that the run time of the two films will be expanded with "White Council or the Dol Guldur additions."

I'm personally 100% sure that the break point he's talking about is when Bilbo and the dwarves escape the Mirkwood elves on a raft made of barrels. That's the chapter Barrels out of Bond, which I think does pretty much mark the half way point. And by my reckoning, that means the White Council and Dol Guldur scenes would feature in the second film. I'm no Tolkien expert, though – I probably know even less than those Rings-rappers Peter put on Page 2 earlier this week.

If you're wanting to bet on who will play Bilbo, get down to the bookies now. Del Toro tells MTV to expect the casting news within "the next few weeks". If I have to pin my colours to one particular option... ohh... I'm finding it a tough call, but I think Ewen McGregor is looking pretty likely.