From New Line president and COO Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. president and COO Alan Horn, and MGM co-CEO Steve Cooper: “The two films based on ‘The Hobbit’ are now greenlit and will begin principal photography in February 2011, under the direction of Peter Jackson.” There you have it. It’s happening.
Sure, the Hobbit films have long seemed cursed: Directors dropped out, actors got antsy, labor unions urged actors to boycott, and um, the set caught on fire. After promises of a 2-D film, both films are set to be 3-D. Jackson still hasn’t even locked down a filming location, since he’s battling an array of labor unions in New Zealand still demanding union jurisdiction for local actors. But let’s face it: This is good news! Bogged down with near-comical mishaps as it may be, The Hobbit is still a $400 million Lord of the Rings prequel, starring Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Great and probably starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, from the man who arguably did justice to Rings in the first place. In a statement, Jackson promised the films will be “an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama.” He added: “We’re looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo.” Was there really ever any doubt?