Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Peter Jackson: Still On THE HOBBIT's Shortlist???
Well, hello my loyal readers! How I've missed your unwavering adoration! I'm back! I've crawled through another semester's worth of term papers and am now writing about a story that I thought I'd missed the boat on. The story? Whether Peter Jackson is still directing The Hobbit and the thus far untitled Lord of the Rings prequel.
Now, in case you've been living in a cave (or perhaps too immersed in the Britney/Kevin fiasco to pay attention), there has been a recent ongoing battle that has threatened to shake the foundations of filmdom!
A while back it was announced that MGM would be putting two(Count 'em, two) Hobbit films into production. One would focus on the beloved novel, while the other would be based on notes, appendices and all that geeky stuff, and cover the transition between The Hobbit and the first LOTR film. They would also be partnering with New Line (The studio who churned out the previous flicks) to co-finance them. Fans cheered in the streets, threw confetti and awkwardly high-fived each other. A return to Middle Earth was imminent! There was just one problem...
Nobody at the studios bothered to ask Peter Jackson (pictured), mastermind of the LOTR trilogy, if he'd like to be involved. Jackson even began to post online that he would be interested in revisiting that world. However, since no one had contacted him, he would probably be too booked up with the upcoming film adaptation of Lovely Bones to be ready for the intended 2008 start date. The fans' glee turned to outrage! They formed angry mobs and rallied in front of fantasy book stores! They mailed severed elf ears to MGM! It was ugly.
So, finally the studio decided to talk to Peter Jackson. However, Peter Jackson soon announced that he wasn't wanted due to his ongoing legal battle with New Line over profits from The Fellowship of the Ring. New Line announced they respected Jackson's talents, but were going with another director. This news left most fans in progressive states of hysteria. Some angrily vowed to make sure that the "bastard" film failed. Others merely curled up with their extended LOTR box sets and sobbed. Darkness began to envelop the land.
There was a rumor earlier this week that Sam Raimi (Spider-man 1 & 2, Evil Dead - pictured) was in the running to direct the films. This was met with reactions ranging from outright rage to miserable acceptance. Frankly, I thought the rumor was complete nonsense, and 100% untrue. I may have been correct...
It was posted at mania.com that MGM's position is that they "support Peter Jackson as a filmmaker, and believe that when the dust settles, he’ll be making the movie. We can’t imagine any other result". Yeesh.
This whole ordeal is turning into an emotional rollercoaster for the loyal fans. They keep giving them hope then sadistically snatching it away. Myself, I'm not a huge fan. I really enjoyed the LOTR trilogy, and agree Jackson's directing was brilliant, but am not hugely invested in this Hobbit thing.
However, while I'm not personally invested, I'm siding with the fans on this one. Making these films without Peter Jackson is a kick in the face to every one who loves the films. It's the same as making Star Wars films without George Lucas (Though some would say that's a good idea... Those people are morons.). Losing Jackson means compromising the vision of the series. If this whole thing is over a lawsuit for profits, that's pathetic. To punish god knows how many fans over a greedy inside battle (I'm talking about New Line, not Jackson. He was screwed over.) is such a juvenile thing to do that it's sickening. New Line needs to remember where they were at pre-Fellowship.
At this point, we're left only with speculation. Rumors abound that Ian McKellan won't return unless Jackson does. As it stands, losing Jackson means not only losing Gandalf, but also WETA, the special effects crew who did such brilliant work in the other three. This is a recipe for disaster. The shame is how avoidable this whole debacle is.
I say give Jackson what he wants. Each entry in the LOTR franchise earned over a billion dollars for the studio, and I think it's fair to assume that further installments would probably do the same. The key to the LOTR trilogy was that, aside from being great spectacles, they were flat-out great movies. They were emotional, dramatic and exciting. It would be a shame to fast-track The Hobbit films with a lesser creative team just to get them out for a deadline.
It took something like 10 years to bring Lord of the Rings to theatres and it was worth the wait. I think the majority of the fans would be willing to wait a little longer for Hobbit films done right. Let's hope MGM & New Line are listening...
Now, to crush a dream of mine... Roughly a year ago, an extremely lucrative deal was struck that would bring a third installment to the strangely popular Rush Hour series. Director Brett Ratner signed on, and Chris Tucker received $20 million to Jackie Chan's $15 million (Don't get me started on that! What kind of world do we live in when a shrill, cringe-inducing, loudmouth gets more than the amazing Jackie Chan? BAH!). At any rate, it was revealed that the next film would take place in France, with detectives... uh... the two cops facing off against a powerful French mobster. Then, a glorious rumor emerged about who would play the heavy. That person was: JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME!
Now, I don't think I'm being unreasonable in saying that this was perhaps the greatest idea in the history of film. Jackie Chan taking on The Van-Dammage? I'm there!
But, alas, 'tis not true. The Muscles from Brussels confirmed the falsity of the story earlier this week. Apparently he started the rumor as a joke and it got picked up by eager journalists. He also claims he has no interest in being in it. Yeah, right J.C.!
At any rate, what little interest I had in this film just went down the toilet. It's unfortunate too, because this franchise is so mediocre that this casting decision would have really brought something to the table. Ah well, I wish you well, Van Damme. May you continue to have a pleasant ride (In your stealth boat, no doubt) into the sunset of straight-to-DVD schlock.
So, there you have it folks. Two stories of studios missing the boat... the stealth boat! I'm going to go drown my sorrows by watching Double Team for the umpteenth time.
"Offense gets the glory! But defense wins the game!" Indeed.
P.S. Sorry this thing was up late. It was a weather thing...