While out promoting his producing credit on the new Neill Blomkamp sci-fi smash-em-up District 9, Peter Jackson talked about the Guillermo del Toro directed The Hobbit. Here is what he had to say:
Peter Jackson: With The Hobbit, I really don't want to be too involved in looking over the shoulder of the director. That's why I choose Guillermo. I wanted to produce it so that I didn't have to compete with myself. The Lord of the Rings movies were the best films that I could make. I poured my heart and soul into those films. I thought I gave those films everything, and with The Hobbit, I'd have to go there again. I felt I would be competing against myself. I didn't want to figure out how I shot it all before. I didn't want to figure out how to do it all again. I didn't want to do that. I thought it would be best to figure that all out with someone else. They could figure out a new way to deal with it. It could be fresh. At the same time, I am still involved, so that it feels like the same word.
Can you update us on the status of the Hobbit?
Peter Jackson: I know there is a lot of talk about casting. Well, we are about three weeks from turning over the first Hobbit script to the studio. The process we have been through so far is that we've written a treatment of the two films. We pitched that to the studio, and that went well. We worked through the storyline, and realized we could make one three-hour movie, but it's amazing how much stuff you would loose. The book is what the book is, and we wanted to include all the scenes we wanted to see. We also wanted to add more Gandalf, so we thought two movies was the best way to go. We haven't done any casting. That is the truth. We haven't offered any role to any actor. . Everything is a process, and we don't have a green light. You need a budget. When you offer a film to an actor, you have to have a budget and a script. You also have to have a date. They want to know when they start and when they finish. Its not until we break the film down that we can get a budget and a greenlight. Which we haven't got. We are thinking of releasing the movies in December 2011 and 2012. That is what we are aiming for. But we are only aiming for it, and the studio wont sign off until they are happy. As soon as we finish a first draft, we will figure out what we need as far as the cast.
Have you thought about any body you want to cast?
Peter Jackson: Of course. Anyone that was in the first three movies, we want to have back. We want the actors that originated the characters. That goes without saying. In terms of new characters, we are talking about people. But that would be wrong to bring up here. The key bit of casting will be the dwarves. They are important characters in that they have many personalities. We are hashing that out with the script, and we couldn't lock down who we wanted until we finished the script. Are they the seven dwarfs? We need to know who each one is, and what kind of actor would suit that role. We aren't really thinking about who these people are at this point. This is logistically very difficult.
The Hobbit is set to be released in December of 2011.