Monday, November 20, 2006

No "Hobbit" for Peter Jackson

That seems to be the word in a statement he and Fran Walsh sent to, and it seems pretty definite.

The prospect of Jackson teaming with New Line again, which has the distribution rights to the Hobbit story, if I'm understanding this right, had always been dicey. Jackson's company, Wingnut Films, has brought a lawsuit againt New Line over profits from the three Lord of the Rings movies, so this wasn't exactly a lovefest. And now it seems their relationship is over for good. Here's an excerpt from their statement.

Several years ago, Mark Ordesky told us that New Line have rights to make not just The Hobbit but a second "LOTR prequel", covering the events leading up to those depicted in LOTR. Since then, we've always assumed that we would be asked to make The Hobbit and possibly this second film, back to back, as we did the original movies. We assumed that our lawsuit with the studio would come to a natural conclusion and we would then be free to discuss our ideas with the studio, get excited and jump on board. We've assumed that we would possibly get started on development and design next year, whilst filming The Lovely Bones. We even had a meeting planned with MGM executives to talk through our schedule.

However last week, Mark Ordesky called Ken and told him 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.

You can read the rest of their statement here.

Bad news indeed, but not really tragic. Don't get me wrong, I flat-out love The Hobbit. I learned to play the piano to those cheesy Rankin-Bass songs, so the story has always been special to me in many ways.

That said, maybe it's the right time for Mr. Jackson to just move on. I can't wait to see what he does with The Lovely Bones, which I've just started reading, and wherever else this slightly crazed genius wants to go.

Wilson, Reitman and ninjas

OK, enough bad news for today. From here on out, nothing but positivity for a Monday morning, I promise.

What's funnier than a ninja? How about a former ninja with time to kill. That seems to be the premise being developed by two very funny men, actor Rainn Wilson and director Jason Reitman.

Wilson is writing "Bonzai Shadowhands" (great title) for himself to star in (must be nice!) and Reitman to direct for Fox Searchlight.

Reitman is currently at work on "Juno," a coming-of-age story about a young woman who finds herself pregnant at an early age. My brother tells me the flick, to star young Ellen Page and "Arrested Development" alum Michael Cera, was written by City Pages scribe Diablo Cody, who now has pink hair and writes an extremely addictive blog titled "Pussy Ranch." You can read her great stuff here.

Wilson, who of course plays the more-than-slightly fascist Dwight on "The Office," said he plans to enlist his friends from the show to help with this first screenwriting gig. "I am going to take my outline to all of the writers and one by one get their ideas and feedback, and by the end of that, it'll be kick-ass in a way only a ninja can kick ass," he said.

A kick-ass idea indeed.

'Borat' film of the year - in Kazakhstan?

It seems like Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat is being sued by someone new every day, but now he's finally getting some love from an unusual source.

The Kazakh government threatened Borat with "legal measures" last year, prompting him to respond that he fully supported "his" government's decision to "sue this Jew".

Since then, the government has softened its stance, with officials saying they understand it is satire and not directed against Kazakhstan. But cinemas in Kazakhstan and neighboring Russia have both been told not to screen the "offensive" movie.

That meant Karavan, a leading weekly tabloid, had to go to great measures so a correspondent could see Borat's movie in Austria.

Correspondent Andrei Shukhov's take: "Cultural Learnings is certainly not an anti-Kazakh, anti-Romanian or anti-Semitic ... It is a cruelly anti-American movie. It is amazingly funny and sad at the same time. I think this is the best film of the year."

Well put. I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but Borat did make a damn funny flick, and I'm glad to see at least one Kazakh scribe can laugh along with him.

Tidbits from Jack Black

In an interview with which you can read here, Jack Black talked a lot about his upcoming flick with Michel Gondry, "Be Kind, Rewind," but also let loose some other funny thoughts.

On more "Nacho Libre:" "I sure hope so; I love working with Jared [Hess]. I think there's a good bet we'll collaborate on something again. ... Mike had an idea that it would be Nacho goes to Japan, but we'll see about that."

On an Altman flick: "I'm loosely signed on to something, verbally; I don't know if I'm allowed to say if it's just verbally. There was talk of a possible Robert Altman thing, big cast, and semi-improvisational."

Nacho in Japan? Jack Black and Robert Altman? It all sounds like fun to me.


Unknown said...

I'm one of the few who never wanted "The Hobbit" made. As a TV series it would work fine, but as a "follow-up" to LOTR it would be nothing but a disappointment.

This announcement is bad news for Jackson though. He appears to have turned into his Californian namesake, what with the Disney-esque castle, hobbit guest houses and World War I plane collection and all and that sort of lifestyle demands a certain income. With "Halo" having crashed and burned "Hobbit" must have looked like a fall-back cash-cow given recent MGM pronouncements.

It's a shame that Peter and Fran have felt they needed to keep naming Mark Ordesky in their press release. He was the "best friend" who let Peter sleep on his couch and got Peter the LOTR deal in the first place. You only have to look at "before and after LOTR" photo's of Ordesky to see how hard working with Jackson as a director can be (do the same thing with Barrie Osborne and the story's pretty consistent). Now Peter and Fran seemed to have made it personal, which is disappointing.

Reel Fanatic said...

It is indeed, Ian ... I still think a "Hobbit" by Jackson would be a joy to behold, but from the way you describe his relationship with Ordesky and New Line, this sounds like the best thing for all involved

Anonymous said...

To tell the truth, I can't say I am really disappointed to hear that Jackson is not making The Hobbit. It's not that I didn't want him to do so--I really, really did. It's that from the beginning it just seems like it was never meant to be. It is a shame, as I honestly think he would have done a great job with it. And I really can't think of any other director who could do it justice.

Reel Fanatic said...

I was thinking about that myself, Mercurie, and I couldn't come up with anyone either ... I don't envy whoever gets it!

Anonymous said...

I am still recovering from Borat, esp the naked fighting scene...ugh!! I am not giving head for a while...LOL!

You are a real reel fanatic...

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'm still waiting for the sequel to "Buckaroo Banzai."


Reel Fanatic said...

That scene was indeed one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen on film, kelitu, including anything from John Waters!

DesLily said...

well I for one AM disappointed that Jackson won't be doing the Hobbit. The reason LOTR was so good was because of the love of the story Jackson had for it. Most directors want a movie either for the money or because they do "like" the script.. but Jackson LOVED Tolkiens work and no one will do the Hobbit justice like he could have... that news bummed my day!

Reel Fanatic said...

Hope you don't blame the messenger, deslily .. I've been thinking about it a bit, and perhaps Darren Aronofsky could pull this off, but no one else comes to mind immediately for me

Anonymous said...

As much as I would love to see Jackson do the 'The Hobbit,' it is probably best he move on. I do love the book, but if it never becomes a movie again I won't mind.

As for Jack Black working with Michel Gondry, that intrigues me! I will have to check that one out!

Anonymous said...


This is Emma here from the site that used to be As you may have realised from trying to access it in the last 14 hours, the URL no longer takes you to my blog, but to some other new link, adore kim, whatever the Hell that is, and I promise you, I have nothing to do with that.
I have no idea how this happened. I went hope last night, tried to access my blog, and realised that someone had changed the URL. So I went into my blogger account (surprisingly, the person who changed my account did not change any other settings apart from deleting my entire profile), and the URL had been changed to So all my blog entries have moved to this new addy.
I’m very surprised that whoever did this merely changed my URL and didn’t do more. Quite nice for a hacker, some might say. Uh. Not me. Anyway, I’m now extremely tired, furious and annoyed, and have changed it to the simplest URL that I can: I would be very grateful if you’d update all your links from your blog and favourites with this new URL, because it’s mine.
As I said, I’m extremely irritated and I would deeply appreciate your co-operation. Also delete this mysticdollarredemption link now because I have nothing to do with the contents with that blog. I’m like, really pissed off.

Thanks, Emma.

Reel Fanatic said...

Sorry to hear about that, Emma ... there so many people in this world who have much more time on their hands than sense .. I will update the links now before I forget

Chris said...

Concerning Hobbits: what do you think of this one?

I personally would love to see Jackson doing it. Can't really think of anyone else right now. Aronofsky seems a bit too "arty" for the job. Maybe Guillermo Del Torro could pull it off...

Reel Fanatic said...

That was interesting stuff, Chris ... I can't say I would support a boycott of New Line without knowing more about each side's case ... Del Toro, however, would be a fascinating choice and would probably be able to pull this off, if it came to that