New Line CEO: ‘‘The Hobbit’ Is In The Future’

Still buzzing from the advance buzz of “The Golden Compass” at New Line’s 40th anniversary gala in New York on Friday night, New Line’s co-chairmen and co-CEO’s Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne were in great spirits — so we figured they wouldn’t mind a little “Hobbit” question. After all, “Golden Compass” features a mini “Lord of the Rings” reunion of sorts, with Ian McKellan (who of course played Gandalf) voicing the panserbjørne Iorek Byrnison, and Christopher Lee (who played the traitor wizard Saruman) making a cameo in the Magisterium (The voice you hear in the trailer is pre-McKellan, with a different voice actor).

So could a bigger “Lord of the Rings” reunion be in the making, as a “cautiously optimistic” Entertainment Weekly reports, possibly with Peter Jackson as the executive producer and someone else directing “The Hobbit”? (Hear what we learned after the jump.)

Neither New Line nor Jackson’s camp would give comment to the magazine, but Shaye and Lynne, as much as they tried to dodge it, did give comment to us. “One film at a time!” Shaye laughed. “’The Hobbit’ is in the future,” Lynne said, somewhat mysteriously. Does that mean there’s hope? “There’s more than hope,” Lynne said with a wink, as he walked away. So no details yet, but plans are definitely underway.

(Watch below for a video report on a possible “Hobbit” flick)

With “The Hobbit” seemingly in the cards, who do you think should be in the film? Sound off below!