The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillerm Del Toro has just officially announced that he is stepping down as director for the upcoming two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit.
Currently in pre-production at Peter Jackson’s WETA studios in New Zealand, filming on The Hobbit has faced countless delays due to various production issues with New Line Cinema and MGM. Del Toro was signed to live in New Zealand working on The Hobbit exculsively for three years. Due to the many delays that was quickly going to become six years — which was causing Del Toro significant issues with his long term production plans for his other film projects.
Del Toro was not only the director of The Hobbit but also a co-writer and designer along with Peter Jackson. From the press release it seems that Del Toro’s many designs and contributions to the script will not dissapear but will instead remain an integral part of the work. Currently, a new director has not yet been announced for the project.
This is dissapointing news as I strongly felt that he was the perfect director for The Hobbit and I was really looking forward to his interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary work.
The two parts of The Hobbit are still scheduled to be released in December 2012 and December 2013.