A couple recent news items...
There is turmoil in Middle Earth as Guillermo del Toro over the weekend stepped down as director of the two planned Hobbit movies, prequels to the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy. He will remain one of the writers, along with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens of the LotR trilogy. MGM's troubles are largely to blame for this; the studio, which shares financing rights to The Hobbit, has been trying to find a buyer since November, and its inability to do so thus far has put The Hobbit as well as other projects including the next James Bond film on hold. Because MGM is still in limbo, it hasn't been able to give an official green light to The Hobbit, and thus a start date for filming and a budget have yet to be set. Del Toro explained his decision in a statement: "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." (Variety)
I am very saddened by this news. I thought del Toro would have been a great director for The Hobbit. And I can imagine how hard it must be for him. He was willing to commit three years to living in New Zealand working solely on this project. He had already worked on it for two years (he signed on in April 2008), designing sets and costumes and planning battle sequences, etc. And now, considering that it may instead take six years, he feels he has to walk away. That's rough.
There is, however, a small possibility that Peter Jackson will end up directing. He obviously cares a lot about the project and might be willing to direct if necessary. "If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros.' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore." He does have other projects, though, that might prevent him from directing. (Variety) Hopefully it will all work out. I'm looking forward to seeing Gandalf and Gollum on screen again.
On a lighter note, Patrick Stewart was knighted today by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Sir Patrick Stewart. Though I know and love him as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies (playing opposite another knight, Sir Ian McKellen), I know that he has long been a key member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I'd love to see him on stage. Ever gracious and admirable, he said of his knighting, "It was an unlooked-for honor but as I grew up as a child, falling in love with the theatre and Shakespeare, my heroes were Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Alec Guinness. The knights of the theater represented to me not only the pinnacle of the profession but the esteem in which the profession was held. And now to find myself, to my astonishment, in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me." (E! Online) A toast to Sir Patrick.
And now an amusing video:
Retro games destroy NYC