24 November 2006

MGM producer says Jackson is still the man to helm The Hobbit

Despite claims that he will not helm The Hobbit and another Lord of the Rings prequel, Peter Jackson is still considered to be the one to helm them, if producer Saul Zaentz has his way. IMBD has posted an interview from the German website Elbenwald.de, where Zaentz says: "It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson. ... Next year The Hobbit rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us. And he is fed up with the studios: to get his profit share on the Rings trilogy he had to sue New Line. With us, in contrast, he knows that he will be paid fairly and artistically supported without reservation." IMBD points out : “The preceding quotation is a translation that appeared on TheHobbit-Movie.com from the German interview posted on Elbenwald.de.”

Early this week, over on the onering.net, Jackson and writing partner Fran Walsh posted a letter saying that New Line had informed that their services were no longer required for the proposed two films. Wingnut films has filed a suit against New Line, claiming that their “creative” bookkeeping allowed the profits from the DVD releases of the films to be miss appropriated.

Zaentz has held the rights to The Hobbit since 1976 and was willing to share a co-production rights with New Line through MGM. But clearly, New Line sees the Lord of the Rings franchise as proprietary to them, and waiting for the lawsuit to come some conclusion was something they are unwilling to do. So, while Peter Jackson and everyone who works at Wingnut should be the only people you go to for this project, it seems New Line in willing to forgo all that in hopes of catching lightening in the bottle twice.

This tug of war going down now is very interesting. The question is: who goes down first and will it be the fans who pay the ultimate price?

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