At this rate, the story of how long Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro’s version of The Hobbit took to reach cinema screens will be considerably longer than JRR Tolkien’s book itself. In just the latest development, del Toro, answering questions at a press conference for Splice, admitted that despite recent stories, there is no official go-ahead or start date set for the film(s) yet.
"It's not greenlit," said del Toro, whose comments were picked up by Coming Soon. "That's categorical. We've been caught in a very tangled negotiation. There cannot be any start dates until the MGM situation gets resolved. They do hold a considerable portion of the rights." Which means that everyone involved in basically in limbo until the financial troubles are sorted or MGM sells the rights on.
Even though Jackson and del Toro have scripts in hand for the film, casting has been a slow, cautious process and while it’s likely they have locked in a good number of possible actors, no one will be able to commit to the thing until there’s a definite start date to schedule around.
At least they’ve had the time to get a lot of the creative work in the bag. "We have designed all the creatures," the director said. "We've designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battles sequences. We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered."
Finally, when asked about the chances of shooting the films in 3D, del Toro commented that there had been one discussion of the idea, and that the current budget had been figured out with no consideration for stereoscopic shooting. Bet that changes…