Could David Yates Direct The Hobbit?

Harry Potter man rumoured for the job

Ever since MGM’s financial wobbles left The Hobbit waiting ages for a greenlight and forced Guillermo del Toro to give up the director’s chair, the film has been cursed with a gaping hole from whence a stream of demonic energy floods and the screams of the faithful echo, waiting for someone to come and plug the leak and make the world of Middle-earth right again. And according to the current rumours, that someone might just be Harry Potter veteran David Yates.

While /Film was the first to report the rumblings, The Wrap followed up with Yates’ agents, who, somewhat naturally given that nothing has been announced, were quick to deny he’d even heard of The Hobbit, let alone been offered the job. Well, all right, so they only said the reports are “not true at all”, but we like to imagine a world where talent representatives go to ridiculously stretched lengths to debunk such rumours. Which, we hasten to add, are all they are right now: rumours. If anything had happened, we're pretty sure Peter Jackson would be hitting the message boards or New Line would be e-mailing press releases to everyone in its address book.

Yet given his experience working with the last few Potter outings, it’s not entirely out of the question of reality that Yates is at least on someone’s list. And while he hasn’t exactly established himself as a real visionary on the evidence of Order Of The Phoenix and the rest, he’d have the support of Team Jackson and the nearly two years’ worth of pre-visualisation material and development blood, sweat and tears that GDT poured into The Hobbit before he had to yank the ejection lever.

Still, Yates has months of post-production ahead of him on The Deathly Hallows before the first part of two arrives in November, and then more running through until mid-2011. So he’s going to be a little bit busy either way. And will he really want to dive into another massive fantasy project that he’s inheriting from someone else? It’s enough to make grown men tremble and Hobbits puke up second breakfast.

If we’re honest, we’d still like to see Alfonso Cuaron given a crack – he’s got the directing chops and a close relationship with Guillermo, though he also has Gravity getting ready to shoot this year, so if Bilbo and co really do manage (as Sir Ian McKellen suggested on Twitter at the weekend) to start shooting by the end of 2010, he could be taken…