Well I'm a'starting one, anyhow.
The last two weeks have seen some huge advances toward getting this lumbering beast on the screen, and everyone (tentatively) looks set to go for a February 2011 production start. While it looks like this film(s?) is already being a little haunted, things are definitely moving ahead.
What troubles, you ask? Well, chronologically:
- New Line got their pants sued off for basically cheating everyone involved in the LOTR trilogy out of money, from Jackson and the cast all the way down to catering and grips. Bob Shaye, head of New Line, was apparently a legendary douchebag and even went so far as saying that Jackson would never work for New Line again and he would block The Hobbit at all costs. However, the board at New Line realized that The Hobbit was potentially worth a billion dollars in revenue, and Bob Shaye wasn't worth a cheap suit from T.J. Maxx. Shaye got the boot; Jackson was asked to come back and start pre-production.
- The Tolkien estate, as always, threatened to sue. Who knows why; it's just what they do. They sue everyone, all the time. Eventually, the suit was dropped.
- Jackson says that while he, Boyens, and Walsh would all work on The Hobbit, he had other irons in the fire. He brings on creature-feature wunderkind Guillermo del Toro to direct. The world is both equally sad and happy in its reaction to the news.
- MGM, partial owner of the rights to The Hobbit, goes belly-up. Bankruptcy proceedings begin in a process that would last almost a year. The whole time, the fate of The Hobbit is up in the air. No greenlight has been given yet.
- Stages that were built during pre-production languish in the months to come, falling into disrepair. Guillermo del Toro says he has too many Frankenstein meets Cthulhu
movies to make, and bails on the production after six months of idleness. Things look grim. The movie has no studio, no start date, and no director.
- A fire burns down a pre-production studio in New Zealand.
- After months of speculation, some good news at last. Spyglass agrees to buy out MGM, and the movie is go! Jackson agrees to direct the film, and things are looking up.
- With word of imminent production, a New Zealand film industry guild boycotts the production, seeking higher wages and benefits. Warners counters with, "Hey, Ireland looks like a nice place, too." The union counter-counters with, "Oh, hey, just kidding." Warner triple-counters with, "Too bad. We're probably still moving."
And that brings us up to date.
But hey! Good news! Today we have the first official casting announcements
from Jackson and company!
Bilbo - Martin Freeman (The Office, Hitchhikers Guide)
Gandalf - Ian McKellan
Dwarves - Relative unknowns, mostly from British TV shows
That's it for now. Keep watching this space.