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Guillermo del Toro admits MGM situation delaying 'The Hobbit' start date

Director also speaks to 3-D rumors regarding the film

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro reveals what's delaying "The Hobbit."

Speaking on a conference call this evening about the upcoming thriller, "Splice," Guillermo del Toro provided some blunt answers regarding the nebulous start date of the long-awaited adaptation of "The Hobbit."

"There cannot be any start date until the MGM situation gets resolved because they hold considerable portion of the rights," del Toro says. "It's impossible to take a unilateral decision to give the greenlight to proceed. We really believe that the date will be known after they fact of MGM's fate. Whether they stay or get supported or get some of the rights.

Both MGM and Warner Bros. have rights to adapt "The Hobbit," a production that will be spearheaded by "Lord of the Rings" maestro Peter Jackson as producer and Del Toro as the film's writer/director.  It appears to be some growing frustration about the scenario from the filmmaker.

"We have been caught in a very tangled negotiation," del Toro.  "Now I have been on the project for nearly two years.  We have designed all the creatures, the sets, the wardrobe, animatics and planned action sequences and we are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered. We don't know anything until MGM is solved."

MGM recently received a fifth extension on its $3.7 billion debt from its creditors earlier this month.  The due date is now July 14.  The studio has put the next James Bond movie on hold and suspended new development until either new financing or a new owner comes on board.

Del Toro refuted that the film has been greenlit, obviously not possible if they are still waiting on MGM, and also commented on the recurring 3-D rumors.

"3-D has been discussed once in the room," del Toro says. "The budget and the schedule and the cost of the film the number of days it would take to shoot without looking toward 3-D.  Is there a chance it will become 3-D in the future? Right now it's not being planned as such."

"Splice," which del Toro produced, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Joel Silver's Dark Castle label. Warner Bros. will release the horror film on June 3.

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Gregory Ellwood
Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder
With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.
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