Peter Jackson Reportedly Negotiating To Direct ‘The Hobbit’

Guillermo del Toro stepped down as director just over three weeks ago.

In a stunning development in the long-delayed big-screen adaptation of “The Hobbit,” just over three weeks after Guillermo del Toro abandoned directorial duties , Peter Jackson is reportedly negotiating to step into the director’s chair for the two-part production.

Deadline.com reports that Jackson is in the midst of negotiations with Warner Bros., New Line and MGM. Jackson, of course, is intimately familiar with Middle-earth, having directed the three installments of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and winning the Oscar for directing in 2003. He was already co-writing the “Hobbit” screenplays, based on the 1937 book by J.R.R. Tolkien, and shepherding development as a producer. And while rumors surfaced last week that Jackson was being courted to direct as well, that possibility seemed like wishful thinking for Tolkienites.

Both “Hobbit” films are said to be gearing up to shoot back-to-back in Jackson’s native New Zealand. MGM has been waging a very public struggle with financial issues, and Deadline reports that the studio is being encouraged to “loosen the purse strings and make the movies happen.”

Since del Toro left the production late last month, after two years of pre-production, directors like David Yates (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”) and Neill Blomkamp (“District 9″) have been rumored to be circling the job. But Jackson and his creative team have reportedly scheduled trips to London and Los Angeles to meet with potential actors, lending further credence to the idea that Jackson will, in fact, take on “Hobbit” directing duties.

MTV News’ requests for comment from Jackson’s representative and MGM were not returned as of press time.

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