Peter T. Chattaway points to a Variety article that brings some clarity to the rumors I mentioned last week. Looks like MGM is hoping Peter Jackson’s up for The Hobbit after all… maybe even a two-film version of it.

I would have mixed feelings about seieng Jackson as the director.

He would need to take a hint from the critics of King Kong and try to restrain himself from going over the top at every possible opportunity.

The Hobbit is a much smaller story, and needs to be treated that way.

If it’s going to work, it’ll be made with a lighter touch, and the filmmakers will resist the temptation to make it as dark as The Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings was a fantasy for grownups. The Hobbit is an amusing childrens’ story.

They’ll need to stick to the text, without bloating small episodes into big action set pieces.

If Holm’s going to play the Bilbo of The Hobbit… and that’s been my dream since he played Polonius in Mel Gibson’s Hamlet… they’ll have to do some marvelous effects work to make him seem younger. Anybody have a good candidate for a young Ian Holm, a middle-aged Bilbo? Hitchhiker’s Martin Freeman, perhaps?

I think McKellen’s still in great condition to play Gandalf the Gray.

Hugo Weaving’s still around to play Elrond, but oh how I wish they’d gone with David Bowie for the trilogy instead. Maybe Bowie could step in to play the king of the wood-elves.

Who would play Beorn? Who would make a good Thorin? How about Bard the guardsman?

I’m confident that Serkis would be a highlight as Gollum again, but could they restrain themselves from writing Gollum a larger role?

And where would they split the story into two? That would be tricky. I’d break it right when Bilbo pokes his head up through the tree cover of Mirkwood and sees the butterflies. “He suddenly wondered if he would ever see his snug hobbit hole again. He wondered if he actually wanted to.” It would have to be a spectacularly beautiful shot. And then, the camera descends back into the shadows below, and we see the spiders lurking in the shadows… Perfect.

And they absolutely must not sacrifice important episodes in order to make room for a sprawling 25-minute battle scene at the end of part two. The battle of five armies is a great battle, but it’s not an eventful battle that requires a long, sprawling effects extravaganza. (So please, dear Lord, keep it away from Andrew Adamson.)

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