Entertainment Weekly have a piece by Steve Daly on the status of the possible live action film of The Hobbit. It seems that it is still along way off (if indeed it ever happens):
Over eight grueling years, Peter Jackson turned J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a multibillion-dollar franchise. So you’d think that New Line, the studio that financed the LOTR juggernaut (and an EW sister company), would have long since locked up plans to adapt The Hobbit, Tolkien’s juvenile-flavored preamble to the trilogy. But a long-simmering rights imbroglio has precluded the movie from coming to fruition — by Jackson or anyone else.
Happily, that conflict seemed to be clearing up last week, when the story broke that MGM — owner of the distribution rights to The Hobbit, but not the rights to the motion picture, which is the property of New Line—was prepared to finance a new film and wanted Jackson to direct. There was just one catch: According to Jackson, nobody at MGM has actually called him. Ever.
”It’s been three years since we delivered The Return of the King, ”says the 44-year-old filmmaker. ”In all that time, nobody’s ever spoken to us about The Hobbit…. We haven’t been thinking about The Hobbit because there’s no point getting excited if [New Line and MGM] don’t have the rights sorted out.” Instead, Jackson has turned to overseeing other projects, including exec-producing a movie version of the videogame smash Halo, remaking the WWII flying story The Dam Busters (to be directed by LOTR computer-animation expert Christian Rivers), adapting the fantasy book series Temeraire, and helping out with special-effects work on James Cameron’s 3-D opus Avatar.
Jackson also discusses the studio politics that have hampered the project:
”The politics between New Line and MGM have never been shared with us. MGM seemingly wants to partner on the film, but I think New Line would rather buy MGM out and run the movie themselves.” New Line had no comment at press time, while MGM wouldn’t discuss any negotiations with Jackson, only issuing a statement to say that his LOTR success ”makes him the first and most ideal choice for directing The Hobbit.”
And he also wonders why MGM are courting him in public rather than just picking up the phone and getting in touch with him directly:
In the meantime, Jackson seems puzzled that MGM should court him publicly, but not privately. ”I don’t want to complain,” he says. ”It’s nice to wake up and turn on the Internet and see that you’re being considered for a movie. But it is kind of curious. I guess I’ll just keep watching the Net and see if there’s any more news.”
I wouldn’t hold your breath for this one.