"We've Agreed On Our Choice For Bilbo"

More Hobbit talk from Del Toro

Over the weekend, Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson gave a live webchat at WETAHolics to answer some fan questions about their upcoming version of The Hobbit, and a currently mysterious sequel. We also spoke to Del Toro recently and he expanded on a few of the points that were discussed in the web chat. We'll come to that in a minute, but first the highlights of the webchat. If you want to read the full thing, you can find it at wetanz.com here. The webchat revealed:

– The film will mainly be shot on real sets, not green screen, and will likely all take place in New Zealand
– Ian Holm will likely have some part in the film, since he played Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit follows his adventures in his younger days.
– Howard Shore will return for scoring duties.
– Pre-production will take place throughout 2009, with back-to-back shooting to begin in 2010. Both films will be, according to Jackson, "intense PG-13".
– The second film will not cover the full 60-year period between Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring, but pick a key period from that time.
– Lord of the Rings is coming to Blu-ray (Yay!), but not this year (Boo)

As part of an exclusive chat with Del Toro for the next issue of Empire, on sale Friday, we spoke to him further about many details, including the casting of Bilbo.

"We are writing based on [Ian Holm's performance], but other than that, we have ideas [of who could play him]," Del Toro told us. "I can tell you that it's down to a few names that we all agree upon. And that our first choice...completely, magically, we said the same name. All of us!" Obviously the script is yet to be written by Jackson, Del Toro and Philippa Boyens, so there won't be a name attached to this for some time (despite poking with sticks Del Toro was mum on the identity of the actor, who probably doesn't know he's in the frame yet). Del Toro says we can expect "at least a year before we announce any casting". So, while they have a name in mind, you can count any forthcoming rumours as false, at least until the script is written.

For lots more from Del Toro on all things Hobbit, including the creation of Smaug and the possibility of beloved Rings characters returning, pick up the next issue of Empire this Friday. You can see a preview of the issue here.