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Peter Jackson Not Filming 'The Hobbit'

21 Nov, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

The man who brought J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books to life, won't be doing the same for the prequel to the trilogy.

New Line Entertainment and Peter Jackson have gone their separate ways in the fantasy series. By the studio's decision, production plans for The Hobbit will not include Jackson and his New Zealand-based production company Wingnut Films and WETA special effects teams, as tentatively expected.

Jackson told fans the bad news himself, posting a letter on popular Lord of the Rings site TheOneRing.net.

The director outlined a lawsuit he and his production company brought against New Line a few years ago regarding auditing that suggested New Line had not correctly represented or compensated Jackson and his company for DVD revenue from the first “Lord of the Rings” title The Fellowship of the Ring.

In his letter, Jackson told LOTR fans he and his team were very interested and assumed they would be involved in working on The Hobbit and another “Lord of the Rings” prequel that New Line held rights to, along with MGM.

However, Jackson's caveat was that no discussion about new films begin until the outstanding lawsuit was settled one way or another. The director did say that New Line executives floated the idea of tying The Hobbit deal to a settlement for the old lawsuit, which Jackson and Co. declined.

The week of November 17, Jackson's manager Ken Kamis got a call from New Line executive Mark Ordesky who “told [Ken] that New Line would no longer be requiring our services on the Hobbit and the LOTR ‘prequel.' This was a courtesy call to let us know that the studio was now actively looking to hire another filmmaker for both projects,” Jackson wrote.

His letter continued:

“Ordesky said that New Line has a limited time option on the film rights they have obtained from Saul Zaentz (this has never been conveyed to us before), and because we won't discuss making the movies until the lawsuit is resolved, the studio is going to have to hire another director.”

Jackson said he wanted to break the news to fans himself.

“Given that New Line are committed to this course of action, we felt at the very least, we owed you, the fans, a straightforward account of events as they have unfolded for us,” he wrote.

Jackson and his team were behind some of the most extras-laden special edition DVDs on the market, with the “Extended Edition” releases of the three films, which remain among the top DVD sellers for New Line.

The Academy Award winning director also used the news as an opportunity to thank his many supporters, known affectionately as “Ringers,” and set the example of rising above a bad situation.

He wrote:

“We have always had the greatest support from The Ringers and we are very sorry our involvement with The Hobbit has been ended in this way … This outcome is not what we anticipated or wanted, but neither do we see any positive value in bitterness and rancor. We now have no choice but to let the idea of a film of ‘The Hobbit' go and move forward with other projects.

We send our very best wishes to whomever has the privilege of making The Hobbit and look forward to seeing the film on the big screen.

Warmest regards to you all, and thanks for your incredible support over the years.”

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