Peter Jackson is refusing to feel downhearted about the ongoing problems which are blighting "The Hobbit" - insisting he has not lost his passion for the project, despite its numerous troubles. The moviemaker directed all three "Lord of the Rings" films and has signed up to produce the upcoming prequel.
But the picture has been put on hold as movie bosses fight to bring "The Hobbit" to the big screen amid ongoing financial problems at MGM Studios. Director Guillermo del Toro quit because of the delays and "The Hobbit" has also been targeted by actors' unions in New Zealand, where the film was due to be shot, who have instigated a boycott over performers rights - leaving movie bosses scouting for a new location.
But Jackson is refusing to give up hope that cameras will roll on the long-gestating project as soon as possible. He tells Empire Online, "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..."
Jackson is adamant he is still passionate about the project, despite the problems, and hints he could still take over as director. He adds, "Oh yeah, for sure (I'm still passionate about The Hobbit). 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... And it's also something I am actually excited about so we'll see what happens."
On another side, Martin Freeman has confirmed he was forced to turned down the lead role in "The Hobbit" due to a scheduling conflict - but hopes the ongoing delays to the blockbuster will work in his favor. Speculation over who will play Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" prequel has been rife for months, with Tobey Maguire, Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy all linked to the job.
Freeman was rumored to have been offered the part, which was played by veteran actor Ian Holm in the previous movies, and has now admitted he had to refuse as he had already signed up to star in a second series of British TV show "Sherlock". He tells Empire magazine, "I did have to say no to it (The Hobbit) for the second series of Sherlock ... I did it with a heavy heart, definitely."
"The Hobbit" is currently on hold due to the ongoing financial problems at MGM Studios and Freeman hopes the delay might mean he is able to take up the role when he has more time. He adds, "I'd like to think so. If there is any outside possibility, then that would be great. But I've learned not to think too much or hope too much about stuff. It will happen if it happens... Bilbo isn't 20 at this stage of the story and I reckon I could do a young Ian Holm. I think I could give that a go."