With Del Toro Out, Who Should Direct <i>The Hobbit</i>?

Within moments of Sunday's announcement that Guillermo del Toro had left the much-delayed adaptation of The Hobbit, speculation turned to who would replace him. Of course, the obvious choice to direct the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel is executive producer Peter Jackson, who said he'd step in if he had to.

"If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros.' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore," Jackson told a New Zealand newspaper. However, his manager insists that won't, or rather can't, happen.

"As for Peter directing," Ken Kamins wrote to Entertainment Weekly, "that’s not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects. But make no mistake, Peter and Fran’s commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, Warner Bros. and MGM."

So Jackson's definitely out. But who would be a good fit -- and, perhaps just as important, who would be willing to sign on to a heavily scrutinized, high-profile two-movie project ... that hasn't even been officially greenlit?

EW's Adam B. Vary suggests Alfonso Cuarón, who has Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban under his belt. A fine choice. However, my vote goes to Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall). What directors do you think would deliver a top-notch version of The Hobbit?

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