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Jackson dropped from Hobbit films

PeterJackson.jpgDespite Peter Jackson bringing the biggest ever story to the big screen in amazing style, it seems that he's just not in favour with the studios, for word has come out that New Line have dropped him from both The Hobbit and the other Rings prequel film, and that they are looking for another filmmaker.

My lord, he really is out of favour, and perhaps the lawsuit he has currently against the studio for money he claims he's due is hurting him, but we've seen these things come and go in Hollywood before and not affect projects from day to day.

The story is much more than rumour and is in fact an official press release from Jackson and Fran Walsh through TheOneRing.net and Coming Soon. Here's an excerpt of what they say from the full press release available at TheOneRing.net:

Several years ago, Mark Ordesky told us that New Line have rights to make not just The Hobbit but a second "LOTR prequel", covering the events leading up to those depicted in LOTR. Since then, we've always assumed that we would be asked to make The Hobbit and possibly this second film, back to back, as we did the original movies. We assumed that our lawsuit with the studio would come to a natural conclusion and we would then be free to discuss our ideas with the studio, get excited and jump on board. We've assumed that we would possibly get started on development and design next year, whilst filming The Lovely Bones. We even had a meeting planned with MGM executives to talk through our schedule.

However last week, Mark Ordesky called Ken and told him that New Line would no longer be requiring our services on the Hobbit and the LOTR 'prequel'. This was a courtesy call to let us know that the studio was now actively looking to hire another filmmaker for both projects.

Oh dear, that's not such great news for the films. Who do you think could carry off such a project now? Who could bring such rich, fantastical source material to the big screen in an innovative and passionate style? Zack Snyder perhaps? Is there someone who could take over the reigns for these stories and live up to the amazing Lord of the Rings films?

Is this such a terrible thing for the series? I mean imagine if Jackson had stayed on to create these two films, I think The Hobbit would have been great, but a film from a script that either they create or are given from the studio which isn't from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel? Perhaps that would have sullied his Rings reputation? What do you think?



Strangely enough, I am disgusted by this news. But it´s quite difficult to make this movie, and I bet Jackong is not too much interested.

I'd like to see a New Zealand director, or even one of his unit directors from LOTR, working with the Weta teams (digital and prosthetics) cutting the very expensive director out of the equation.

Even better. persuade Barrie Osborne to come out of retirement to produce the whole thing. With Jackson off the scene he might even consider it? :)

Weta are NOT Peter Jackson, despite what the Pete and Fran publicity machine would have you believe so this would work. I believe there are currently three equal shareholders: Peter himself, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk but Peter doesn't need to be involved in this project. Have Barrie (as producer) work with the respective heads of the prosthetics and digital departments and the Peter and Fran "problem" goes away.

Hire freelancers Alan Lee and John Howe for the vision for the picture. They have years of Tolkien and Hobbit experience behind them and did a fantastic job on LOTR. Hire Howard Shore for the film score - with Peter out the way he might well agree where otherwise he'd have been a no-no.

Hire Andrew Lesnie for cinematography (or directing chores!)

I honestly believe that way we'd get a much better film than Peter/Fran could have ever produced.

But what about the script?

Hire Steven Sinclair as writer (he was originally part of the writing team, having been Fran's boyfriend before she took off with Peter, but something happened and for some unknown legal reason his name only appears on the LOTR credits for the middle film despite him having helped write all three). Interesting side note: Sinclair wrote the original play that ended up being totally ripped off to produce "The Full Monty" and he's a talented writer. Fran, Peter and Phillipa (another Sinclair girlfriend who got introduced to Peter and Fran as "a LOTR fan" AFTER the first scripts were written) are NOT good writers - much of LOTR was made up on the spot with the help of the cast, and Kong showed they don't understand good writing. They were lucky they had a LOT of Tolkien to directly quote from, but when they wrote stuff themselves it was inevitably incrediby twee or just plain crass (how many times do we need to hear a double-meaning "toss" joke for goodness sake!)

By taking Jackson away as director you have more money to show up on screen. Peter's Disney-like castle home with hobbit guest houses and endless toys (a World War I plane collection for goodness sake) is all very nice, but just show how he's completely lost the plot and will end up just like his Californian namesake (Michael Jasckson) if he doesn't get a reality check soon.

So for me this decision is all good, and reasserts my faith in New Line. There appears to be a horrible human cost to working with Jackson and while silly fanboy Internet sites will jump up and down about the madness of "the suits" not working with Jackson, the suit named in the release (Mark Ordesky - Peter's "best friend" who got him in to New Line to pitch LOTR in the first place) has FAR more experience of what Jackson as director really means to a project than any of those ranting about what a bad decision taking him off the project will be.

Ian, I am very impressed with your post, you obviously have serious misgivings about Peter Jackson and I totally agree with you - surely there are lots of other directors out there who can make this work.

I honestly think that any established director could do just as good of a job as Jackson. I'm not a huge LOTR fan, so I care little. But when it does get made, I can see anyone with a decent budget and some experience filling in just as well as Jackson.


I seem to recall reading the other Rings prequel actually was going to be produced from some of Tolkien's other Middle-Earth writings, so it would have some legitimacy. I'm not sure it would be necessary, though, and to be honest I'm not even sure how necessary The Hobbit really is. The backstory you need is there in Fellowship.

I don't think that dumping Jackson at this stage is a particularly good thing when he's got a proven track record with the LOTR series; putting him in charge of The Hobbit, if it's going to be made at all, seems a fairly logical decision. Whether it proves to be an actually bad thing (as opposed to a not-good thing) depends on who they've got in mind to replace him.

Great comments Ian. I didn't know so much detailed information on what was going on behind the scenes of the films and, obviously incorrectly, assumed that a lot of this was down to Jackson. Of course he's the head of a very big ship and it sounds like the crew are more than capable of stepping up.

However I think it's a tad unfair to be so harsh on the fanboy sites complaining about losing Jackson because the common perception is that he is the man behind the series.

It's good to hear that there's another point of view though...and to learn something new!

James, forgot to say there, I read that the second prequel will be based on notes from Tolkien rather than his other novels and short stories.


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