Just a few days after speaking frankly about the financial troubles that were causing delays for the production of “The Hobbit,” Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson officially announced today that Del Toro will no longer be directing the films, although he plans to stay attached to the project long enough to complete his work on the screenplays.
In a letter to The One Ring, Del Toro and Jackson spoke at length today about the reasons behind Del Toro’s departure from the project, but it really boils down to the delay. Right now, Del Toro’s already spent two years preparing the films for shooting, but with no start date in sight, it’s possible he could be waiting for another year or even two years before they’re ready to shoot. Having originally set aside three years of his life to make the movies, he’s looking at potentially giving up twice that much time, and for a director, that can be an unacceptable proposition.
“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming ‘The Hobbit,’ I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director.”