New Line and Peter Jackson have resolved their differences and agreed to make The Hobbit (and a sequel).
But before you start searching for your opening-night Gollum outfit … Jackson will executive-produce, not direct or write (which he did with his partner, Fran Walsh).
That’s excellent news. While Jackson is an outstanding producer and production designer, he’s really no great shakes as a director. Compare one of his fight scenes to, say, anything in The Matrix, and c’mon, did we really need that 10,000th closeup of Elijah Woods’ great big eyes? And don’t get me started (again) on his screenwriting.
Hey, Pete: do what Lucas should have done. Hire a top-notch screenwriter, hand him the book, and tell him to listen to Johnathan Demme’s commentary on the Criterian edition of Silence of the Lambs (“what is called for here is slavish devotion to the text”). Then get a great director–you should have your pick–and put your marvelous art and effects departments to work. You run that part; it’s what you do best. Cajole your old cast members to return (as appropriate) and turn everybody loose.
It’ll be marvelous.