Jackson Reportedly In Talks To Direct <i>The Hobbit</i>

It looks like the wishes of countless fans may come true after all: Deadline's Mike Fleming reports that Peter Jackson is negotiating with Warner Bros. and MGM to direct The Hobbit.

Jackson will replace Guillermo del Toro, who walked away from the two-movie project last month, citing scheduling problems created by production delays. Jackson, who directed the three Lord of the Rings films and is co-writing and producing The Hobbit, was viewed by many as the obvious successor to del Toro. However, his manager insisted commitments to other studios would prevent Jackson from stepping into the director's role.

Fleming asserts that "the signs have been there for some time," pointing to the long list of directors who have angled for The Hobbit -- David Yates, David Dobkin and Brett Ratner reportedly among them -- with no offers made in response. That's apparently because Warner Bros. and MGM have wanted Jackson all along.

The Hobbit has been in limbo for more than two years, in part because of uncertainties about MGM's financial future. However, the first of the two Hobbit films supposedly will be released in December 2012, a year later than New Line and MGM targeted way back in 2007.

According to Deadline, Jackson is pushing for MGM "to do what is needed to make the back-to-back films possible for an end of the year shoot."

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