Peter Jackson Secretly Meeting With Actors For The Hobbit?

As you know, Guillermo del Toro recently stepped down from directing the big screen adaptation of The Hobbit, leaving the project in complete limbo. Warner Bros has been searching for a replacement, talking to directors David Yates (Harry Potter), David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus), and Brett Ratner about the job, but rumor had it that Warner Bros and MGM were still trying to talk Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson to return to the series to helm the two prequels.

It was later reported that Jackson was in fact negotiating a deal to direct the two halves himself, and that the filmmaker has been busy extracting himself from other obligations. But Jackson using a fake pen name, has downplayed the development to AICN. And the latest we've heard is that the production delay could cost the film some prominent actors such as Sir Ian McKellen. But now we have learned that Jackson has been quietly meeting with actors in Los Angeles this week about the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel.

The news comes from HeatVision, who claims that Jackson's deal to direct the two Hobbit films is almost done, but they are waiting on the MGM financial situation to clear up before any decisions can be made.Warner Bros is said to beĀ  "furiously negotiating with MGM, which is being steered by a committee of creditors and financial stakeholders." Jackson's Hobbit casting trip also apparently included stops in New York and the U.K.

Jackson co-wrote the scripts, is already on board as a producer, and he could shoot both films in his New Zealand backyard. But Warner Bros will need MGM to sign-off on production before anything can happen.