I still smile every time I think about the fact that The Hobbit is finally being made into a movie, even though its release is three years away. Remember how I almost passed out when I saw the Entertainment Weekly issue touting the end to the battle between New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson last fall?
Things have really started moving lately, with Guillermo Del Toro being named as the movie's director (Peter Jackson is still producing). Most nerdy fans like myself are very pleased with that choice. Del Toro rocked the visual effects in Pan's Labyrinth, and while I haven't seen his other major movie, Hellboy, I have seen the trailer for Hellboy II, and it was amazing. I may go to that movie solely based on its trailer, knowing nothing else about that comic series whatsoever. That's how cool it was.
Anyway, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief because Ian McKellen is definitely going to play Gandalf again, and Andy Serkis will be revisiting his turn as Gollum. Script-writing is underway, with the biggest controversy being that not only are they making The Hobbit, they are also making a "sequel" of sorts that is a NEW STORY that will bridge the 60-year-or-so gap between where The Hobbit left off and where The Fellowship of the Ring began. While I'm excited to get another Lord of the Rings movie that I wasn't expecting, I am a bit nervous about how they're going to pull it off. But I'll worry about that in 2012 when that one comes out (if the world hasn't ended by then, right?).
For now, I will stress about who they're going to choose to play the hobbit himself--Bilbo Baggins. Ian Holm, who played the role in the other three movies, is out because he's too old and The Hobbit took place when Bilbo was young. Jack Black, Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) and James McAvoy (Atonement) are names floating around, but have also been shot down as rumors. At first I was like, "How in the heck did anyone come up with JACK BLACK?!?" because I definitely couldn't see that working, but then I remembered that he did team up with Peter Jackson for King Kong. However, I think LOTR fans would totally revolt if he were picked, as they would if Harry Potter, er, Daniel Radcliffe, got the role.
But I know I'm not the only one who thinks McAvoy would be a wise choice. He's got a young look (but not too young), he's got the accent, he played a non-human creature in Narnia, he's got a proven track record but isn't such a big star that his presence will overwhelm the film... and he's kind of short. Ding ding ding, we have a winner! At least in my book.
My other big question is--are they going to actually KEEP the Shire/Hobbiton set intact this time after filming ends in New Zealand? If so, I may have to visit again...