MGM's much reported financial turmoil has sidelined James Bond and The Hobbit for the time being. But are the skies starting to clear for the troubled company? Will 007 and Bilbo Baggins ride again before much longer? According to two optimistic points of view, the answer is... possibly.
Speaking about his work on The Hobbit, actor Ian McKellen tells The Bolton News that "the aim is to start filming in January." This jives with recent reports that New Line and MGM are rushing to get Martin Freeman on board as the titular Hobbit, hoping to secure him in time for a production start date as early as next year. It could also explain why the film's director hasn't officially been announced — perhaps studio executives are waiting to lock in the director (Jackson), the principal players (McKellen and Freeman) and an official start date as a trifecta of much needed good news on this presently plagued project.
Regarding 007, Deadline reports the news that Gary Ross is in line to direct The Hungry Games now that director Sam Mendes has dropped out of the running, "because the MGM picture is clearing up and it looks like production on 007 could begin by late summer or early fall, 2011 with Mendes at the helm and Daniel Craig back in the Aston Martin."
There you have it — two optimistic reports regarding two troubled franchises. But as my mother used to say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst, because if there's one thing we've learned from the whole MGM debacle, it's this: don't get your hopes up. Even when an official press release rolls in announcing production starts for both films, it will be difficult for fans of either property — myself included — to fully believe that the films are actually on the way.