If you want to know what’s going on with The Hobbit, there’s only one person you can ask for the real state of play— Peter Jackson himself. So we did….
“We are nowhere different to any other reports or conversations,” Jackson told us last night. “We haven’t got a greenlight yet. We’re still waiting. Things still seem to be inching closer to some sort of happy place. I keep hearing that so many times now I’ve stopped tuning into it.”
This past week the internet has been swamped with speculation that The Hobbit is just moments away from being greenlit with Jackson replacing Guillermo del Toro at the helm, and shooting set to start in January with a 2012 release for part one and a 2013 release for part 2, both in 3D. Well, hold your Shadowfaxes. Not so fast.
“We’ve seen these reports before, reports saying there was going to be a greenlight in a couple of days — well, a week’s gone by and there isn’t one," adds Jackson. "You can’t believe everything you read. There is only one thing you want to believe and that’s when the studio announces a greenlight. As far as I’m aware that’s not going to be today. I keep hearing positive things. Everyone’s working very hard. There’s a lot of people at Warner Bros. who are working around the clock trying to manoeuvre through the MGM complexities. MGM is a company that is about to go bankrupt and in a way they are about to take The Hobbit into bankruptcy hell with them when they go down. Warners are trying to extract The Hobbit out of the bankruptcy hell before it happens. It is just so complicated I can’t even put my head into it. It’s all to do with American copyright laws, bankruptcy laws. A lot of Warner Bros. lawyers are working round the clock at the moment trying to make it happen so let’s see."
It would be entirely natural if all the delays, financial shenanigans and political machinations had diluted Jackson’s appetite for the project. Does he still have his passion for the Tolkienverse?
“Oh yeah, for sure. I’m certainly happy to be involved. At the moment, I’m a writer and a producer on it. We’ll see. Warner Bros. have been very, very good, very loyal and very supportive and I want to do what’s right for them first and foremost because I’ve got a responsibility to look after their investment. And it’s also something I am actually excited about so we’ll see what happens. I’ve learnt never to get that excited until something is greenlit because there is a moment when you commit emotionally to a project and you give everything, your heart and soul. At that point, once you’ve done that and it doesn’t happen, it’s the most horrible thing in the world outside of stuff do with your family. It’s the worst experience ever, to have a film fall over that you’ve committed 100% to. I always just protect myself and don’t fully commit until I know for sure that it’s happening. Then it gets my 100% commitment.”
There you go - while it may seem that we're no closer than before to seeing Bilbo Baggins in action, there's enough optimism in Jackson's words to make us think that The Hobbit could become a going concern in the near future. If you have fingers and toes, cross them now...