While the Lord of the Rings trilogy was being made, I lived and breathed that site. I am not one who ever picks up Entertainment Weekly or really follows behind the scenes tidbits or news. But it's Middle Earth. It was coming to screen. I wanted to know if Orlando Bloom thought his wig was itchy (if that was ever discussed, I missed it) and what Edoras looked like. I wasn't alone. It's a story near to so many hearts. We were all clicking obsessively.
Guillermo del Toro would direct the epic, and it would be split into two parts. Somewhere in the timeline, there were legal disputes with the Tolkien family, big kerfuffles with the studios and funding - mostly the selling and restructuring of MGM, and Del Toro had other commitments because the whole mess was taking way too long. He bowed out. Then the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) got bitchy. Fans despaired, hearts sunk, and I think even Jackson got a little frustrated. This story needs to be told; there is no question that tons of people will go see this movie. And yet "Hollywood" still makes it incredibly hard to just make the frakking movie.
But. Finally, there is hope. The movie has a green light. We have Peter Jackson back in the director's chair. This is really as it should be. Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis are set to reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum. Martin Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins (more casting news here. Things are moving along. In theory, filming is set to start in February. Of course, there is one last, kinda giant hiccup. It might not work out to film the movie in New Zealand. New Zealand is Middle Earth. I'll be impressed if pre-production can recover in enough time to start promptly in an entirely different country. I mean, they've practically got all of Hobbiton built in New Zealand. I could be wrong, but I don't think you can just pick up hobbit holes and ship them on the next Fedex plane.
Even though it doesn't look optimistic at this point, I'll keep fingers crossed for New Zealand.