When Guillermo del Toro vacated the directing chair on two installments of The Hobbit, the prospect of Peter Jackson taking over was labeled a near impossibility by his camp. That seemed to be contradicted a day later by Jackson’s own comments to a New Zealand newspaper when he said “If that’s what I have to do to protect Warner Brothers’ investment, then obviously that’s one angle which I’ll explore.” Is Jackson easing his way into the job? According to his manager, Ken Kamins, nothing has changed. Jackson’s film commitments are real, though he hasn’t told us yet what they are, and Kamins maintains efforts are underway in New Zealand right now to find another director who’ll keep the project on track to start production in late 2010 or early 2011.
Per Kamins: “When Peter says that directing himself is one angle he’d explore if he had to, that means, if we can’t find another director who is right for the films that everyone can agree on, and, if at that time, the other studios involved in his other projects would relieve him of his obligations.’”
I will be surprised if Jackson doesn’t direct, it solves too many problems for it not to happen. He co-wrote the films and is fully staked creatively. Based on the job he did on The Lord of the Rings, nobody does Middle Earth better and it would be daunting to try. Many of the big directors who could pull it off are booked, like Alfonso Cuaron (the 3D space film Gravity with Robert Downey Jr.) Bryan Singer (directing Jack the Giant Killer early next year and producing X-Men: First Class this fall) or Sam Raimi (World of Warcraft, plus why would he want to re-engage when MGM/New Line originally chose del Toro over him?). If they enlist a hot newcomer for such a gargantuan creative task, Jackson would be so tied up in a mentoring role that he might as well direct himself.