After months going back and forth with the news of its chosen director, the back-to-back "The Hobbit" and "The Hobbit 2" movies have found a helmer in the acclaimed filmmaker of "Pan's Labyrinth". The official announcement of the signing of Guillermo del Toro came out Thursday, April 24, afternoon via a joint statement from executive producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, New Line president Toby Emmerich, and new MGM's Worldwide Motion Picture Group head Mary Parent.
The picking up of the director/scribbler means that del Toro will team up with Jackson and his Wingnut and Weta production teams for the next four years in New Zealand to bring the films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" novel into two live-action films. Despite the coming out of the announcement, the 43-year-old won't rush on to New Zealand since he is still involved with another highly awaited action fantasy film "Hellboy II: The Golden Army", which is eyeing on July 11 release.
On the matter of the two "Hobbit" films themselves, it is reported that the script has yet to be written, but it is said that the films will cover the 60 years period between "The Hobbit" and the first of Lord of the Rings trilogy, "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring". The two are also going to focus the story on Bilbo Baggins and how he takes over the Ring of Power from Gollum. Expected to begin the production in 2009, the films, which aimed to be outed in 2011 and 2012, reportedly will use the same Jackson's WETA stages and visual effects facilities used to film LOTR trilogy.