Guillermo del Toro has officially backed out of directing the two films that are to be based on J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit. The announcement was made today on The One Ring, because del Toro and Peter Jackson wanted to deliver it to the fans first.

Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro

Renowned director Guillermo del Toro announced this morning that he will no longer be directing the two films based on the book The Hobbit. The news came right on the heels of a report that the production of the film was being postponed, and word is that had to do with MGM Studio‘s bankruptcy and the ties they already had to the movie. It is apparently because of these delays that del Toro is being forced to back out of the directing responsibilities – but the good news is, he will still be helping to write the screenplays. Check out a quote from Guillermo after the jump.

“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 [Jackson], Fran [Walsh] 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 wish 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.”

So Guillermo is blaming it on the delays in starting the production? Apparently famed film critic and writer Roger Ebert has a different idea. According to him Guillermo del Toro announced last week that he would not film The Hobbit in 3D, and all of a sudden he’s off the project. Hmmm. We all know that Hollywood has latched on to the 3D fad like it’s nobody’s business, filming crap in 3D that doesn’t even have a reason to be. Personally, I respect del Toro‘s decision not to give into the trends and do things his own way, but apparently the rest of the franchise disagreed. Well screw it, if you’re not going to let a genius like Guillermo do it the way he sees best, then I say just let it go. Hopefully it won’t turn into just another typical and predictable Hollywood “blockbuster.” So lame.

Warner Bros and New Line are supposed to sit down with Peter Jackson this week to set up some kind of schedule for once the scripts are polished up and pretty. So…it looks like they’re on track. Why is del Toro leaving again? I wonder if Matthew Goode is still up for the lead role of Billbo Baggins. Who knows, at this point…

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