WB/MGM Still Trying To Talk Peter Jackson Into Directing The Hobbit

Yesterday we reported a rumor that David Yates, best known as the director of the last few Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Part I and II of the Deathly Hallows, was the studios top choice to direct The Hobbit. As you know, Guillermo del Toro recently stepped down from directing the big screen adaptation.

It turns out the story is partly true. David Yates, David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus), and Brett Ratner have all been considered for the directing gig, but Deadline is reporting that no offer has yet been made. Why not? Apparently Warner Bros and MGM are still trying to talk Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson to return to the series to helm the two prequels.

Jackson co-wrote the scripts, is already on board as a producer, and he could shoot both films in his New Zealand backyard. But would Jackson come back? The filmmaker has previously stated:

If [directing the films is] what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore...The other studios may not let me out of the contracts.

Jackson's statement echoes what his manager, Ken Kamins had said:

[Peter Jackson can't consider directing] at this time because he has and has had other commitments and obligations to other projects. That said, he and Fran will stop at nothing to protect this franchise and the investment made by New Line, Warners and MGM.

Jackson didn't sound terribly interested in making the films. Do we really want Jackson directing if he's doing it primarily to protect studio investments? I mean, I think Jackson would be the best director for these films, but do you really want to have a director who really isn't interested in helming another two films jump aboard to save a sinking ship because he has profit paicipation points? I'm sure many of you are still saying "yes". I'm not sure what the answer is.

Fleming reports that "so much gross already has been committed on the picture that there isn't much left to give to a top-level director." Apparently, gross profit participants include the JRR Tolkien estate, Jackson, Saul Zaentz and maybe even Harvey Weinstein, which doesn't leave much of anything for whomever signs on.

I know a lot of people did not like the suggestion of Yates (I had no idea that he ruined the Harry Potter series...), but there are much worse options on the shelf right now. Do we really want Ratner or the guy who made Fred Claus directing The Hobbit?