Mumbai: Oscar-nominated filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will direct The Hobbit and its sequel, it was jointly announced by The Hobbit executive producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, New Line Cinema president and COO Toby Emmerich, and Worldwide Motion Picture Group, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) chairperson Mary Parent.
"Guillermo is a cinematic magician who has never lost his child-like sense of wonder. He understands that the fantastic must be grounded in the real and that all stories are only ever a reflection of ourselves," say Jackson and Walsh. "We have long admired Guillermo’s work and cannot think of a more inspired filmmaker to take the journey back to Middle-earth. We are delighted The Hobbit is in such trustworthy hands."
Del Toro says, "I am indeed blessed to become a part of the filmmaking community that Peter, Fran and their extraordinary team of collaborators have created in New Zealand… Contributing to the Lord of the Rings legacy is an absolute dream come true."
Says Emmerich, "Guillermo has a proven ability to bring fantasy worlds to life in a compelling and emotional way. He is the ideal filmmaker to work with Peter and Fran to bring Tolkien’s beloved Middle-earth back to the screen."
Del Toro will move to New Zealand for the next four years to work with Jackson and his Wingnut and WETA production teams. He will helm the two films back to back — telling the story of The Hobbit, and its sequel, which will deal with the 60-year period between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
New Line is overseeing development and will manage the production. The Hobbit and its sequel are being co-produced and co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Brothers distributing domestically and MGM distributing internationally. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are executive producing the films.
The Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office. In 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture — the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The trilogy’s production was also unprecedented at the time.