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Del Toro To Direct Pair of Hobbit Films?

Guillermo del Toro is talking with exec producer Peter Jackson and financers New Line and MGM to direct back-to-back films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Because Jackson is working on THE LOVELY BONES and TINTIN, he has opted to produce the HOBBIT films and oversee the writing of the script in lieu of taking the directing reins as he did on THE LORD OF THE RINGS series. A screenwriter has not been found for the project, because of the writers strike, however it will be a top priority for the studios when a resolution with WGA is sealed.

New Line and MGM hope to get the simultaneous shooting of both films underway in 2009, eyeing 2010 to release the first film with the second coming the following year. Budgets on the two films will be $150 million each.

The story follows hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who teams with a group of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf to uncover the dragon Smaug's treasure.

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