Jun 3 2010 12:28pm

Nine Hobbits that Could Happen

Ever since dropped the newsbomb that Guillermo del Toro was departing The Hobbit (citing production delays that have hamstrung the epic two-parter for nearly a year), speculation has raged. With budget problems, studio delays, and a three-year schedule that’s stretched to six, things don’t sound like they’re going to get any easier.

Who’s going to direct this thing now?

The Hobbit camp has not put forth any names for del Toro’s suggested replacement. As fans, clearly that’s our job.

Below the cut, nine ways this train wreck can go.

1. Christopher Nolan

A dark thriller in which Bilbo the hobbit is conscripted into a shadowy gang of inscrutable dwarves, and a sorcerer who seems both fair and foul. In a desperate attempt to free himself, he tumbles down a mountain and will use every ounce of his courage to obtain a golden ring. Is it what he needs to save himself, or a trap from which there’s no escape? And you won’t believe the third-act twist about Bofur and Bombur.

Not that it will matter either way; we won’t hear another word about the movie until it comes out.

2. George Lucas

Bilbo is a lonely young hobbit trapped in his house under the hill in a remote Shire, waiting desperately for adventure to find him. When wise and supernaturally-gifted Gandalf appears, Bilbo isn’t about to miss his chance. Along with the grouchy and in-it-for-the-money Thorin and his hirsute/hard-to-decipher backup dwarves, Bilbo will enter a world full of alien beings he’s never dreamed of, and will have to learn how to harness a magical gift in order to survive a coming war.

Bonus: in 2032, Lucas will release a version in which Smaug shoots first.

3. Kathryn Bigelow

A taut, atmospheric movie about a hobbit in over his head, the flawed but compelling dwarf king that leads his quest, the glory-hungry Bard of Laketown who will come through in a clinch, and the morally-ambiguous wizard who will save them all from danger after twenty minutes of slow-motion tension about it. No need for a second movie, even, since she’d wrap it up in about eighty minutes. Frankly, it sounds good to me.

Potential downside: previous casting of Bill Paxton makes her taste in actors suspect. Just because someone is letting James McAvoy play Professor X doesn’t mean he should be Bilbo, too. Don’t let him into EVERY franchise, for crying out loud.

4. Chris Weitz

After the money New Moon made, this dude could probably leverage his way into the short list. Result: a movie about Gollum sitting in a cave for two hours with a camera circling him as indie rock plays in the background, and then fifteen hours of deleted scenes about Bilbo and the dwarves that will be available on the DVD release. (At least he already has all the CGI wargs ready to go.)

5. Michael Bay


6. Alex Proyas

A moody character study of a man on a quest to discover the dark beast that’s haunted his dreams, with memorable supporting players, a monster in every shadow, and a few moments of beautiful filmmaking…just before Will Smith shows up. No lie, I’d like to see if Alex Proyas could do to the countryside what he did for cities in The Crow and Dark City, but since then he’s put out I, Robot and Knowing, which does not exactly inspire cinematic confidence. (Good news: he’s in pre-production hell on Dracula: Year One, so it’s not like he’s a stranger to the waiting-around rigmarole.)

7. Ridley Scott

His movies are seriously hit-or-miss, but when the script is solid he can certainly produce the rich visuals an epic requires. Sure, it would end up as a movie about the tortured Thorin’s search for redemption, and nearly all the supporting dwarves would kick the bucket, but he can film battle scenes in his sleep, and if there’s anyone who knows how to drive home the quest theme, it’s him. (Bonus: it will keep him from making the Monopoly movie he keeps threatening us all with.)

8. Tim Burton

Bilbo Baggins is the very loneliest hobbit of them all, until some CGI-enhanced dwarves come to take him to a magical land filled with trilling songs and a vaguely-effeminate wizard (Johnny Depp) who doesn’t like messes but, deep down, just wants to be loved by a hobbit he can look on as a son. Helena Bonham-Carter voices Smaug, who spends the second half of the movie delivering a darling series of quips on what it’s like to be stuck in a cave full of gold.

9. Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Stealth “the one from the 70s is perfectly fine” sentiment!

What say you, film fans? Now that del Toro’s out of the running, what monstrous directorial visions do you fear?

Genevieve would actually watch a Kathryn Bigelow Hobbit. Otherwise, she is only interested in a nice widescreen re-release of the Rankin-Bass one, to which she still knows all the lyrics. She writes more about movies at her blog.

1. dmg
Clever post! Thank you.

The problem, alas, is greater than mere production delays. Thanks to the global financial crisis, the studio finds itself unable to muster the cash and financing to even start production, leave alone finish and distribute the movie. Now, were the creative team to accept scrip...
Chris Greenland
2. greenland
I would like a "Smaug shot first" t-shirt, please.

I think I'm most excited for a Michael Bay HOBBIT adaptation. Bilbo and a cast of Scrappys would have to risk life and limb to fight off Steve-Buscemi-as-Gollum and detonate a nuke inside of Smaug or risk TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF MIDDLE-EARTH. Also they have help from fighter jets powered by rock ballads and The Ring turns you into an American flag when you put it on.
3. Sam Bosma
Since it's probably on Peter Jackson's shoulders to snoop out a replacement for Del Toro, I wouldn't be surprised if Neill Blomkamp's name gets thrown around. I know he's going to be waist deep in John Carter of Mars and then Mission: Impossible 4 for a while, but I'd kill to see Brad Bird do this.

I was never totally sold on Del Toro, since his English-language films are a huge step down from his Spanish ones.
geoffrey h goodwin
4. ghg
You know I adore you, but I raced over here, ecstatically thinking of nothing but the Tyne Tees Television Catherine Cookson-ized version. Alas...
5. ms.tentacles
Benicio del Toro?
6. WonderGirl
You've forgotten the M. Night Shyamalan Hobbit: all this business about a dragon is simply the canvas against which Mr. Baggins must work out the conflict between his longing for adventure and his desire to honor his father's memory by remaining Predictable and Nonadventurous. Ten minutes before the end, it will be revealed that the entire film was the daydream of a Bilbo-like middle-aged man in Philadelphia, who, absentmindedly beginning to cross the street, is run over by a bus and doesn't realize that he's dead. (No, I liked The Sixth Sense. Really.)

Also, was it necessary for you to remind me of "Your Greatest Adventure". . . ?
7. Blurbo Bagginz
No James Cameron? He'll make the dwarves all green due to low exposure to sunlight or some other science-y reason, put in some star-crossed love story that can never be due to opposing sides (like Bilbo and Smaug falling in love), add in some social commentary about reverence for nature and how war is bad (or would that be Miyazaki?) and then grow even more smug (or smaug)than he already is.

It'll also be 4 hours long, and in 3D.
8. Joe09876
Jump to 9:20 in this video to see some options:
Leigh Butler
9. leighdb
I started to do one about Joel Schumacher, but my brain got as far as "Dwarven codpieces" and then ran away shrieking in terror.
10. Clinton A. Harris
Jerry Bruckheimer. It will be a swashbuckling 3 part epic. With Johnny Depp as Bilbo and Will Smith as Gollum. "Take our Precious? Ah, hell naw!"

Michael Bay. Bilbo is played by Megan Fox. Shit blows up.
11. Gil-galad
I think a Michael Bay version would go more like this:

Bilbo Baggins is just a patriotic hard-working American hobbit who gets thrust into all this mess, not to hunt for treasure, but to do his duty to save the Shire from the evil Nazi, Herr Smaug Himmler. He says a tearful goodbye to his daughter, and drives off East in a Corvette. When he gets there, brainiac-types are having trouble, leaving him to repair the wiring of their missile launch facility using a coat-hanger and some bubble gum. When he succeeds in putting those nutty eggheads to shame, they fire bunker-buster nukes at Erebor to root the socialist^H^H^H^H^H^Hdragon out, so that Bard Johnson from Esgaroth, Kansas can punch him to death. After Smaug is defeated, Orc-commies start to invade, but they are repelled by a loud choral rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner sung by the Bald Eagles, and flee. Bilbo denies any compensation and drives home, to hug his daughter again and continue his simple life as a plumber.
Bradley Beek
12. beeker73
I don't want to see JJ Abrahms do it, because Frodo will somehow end up travelling through time, space, and dimension to give advice to Bilbo, and I can't stand his big, stupid, expressionless eyes.

I would absolutely love to see what Tarantino and/or Rodriguez would do with The Hobbit.
13. Justins
John Carpenter's The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggens is the everyman bad boy hobbit, fighting trolls and trading snappy one-liners with Kirt Russel as Thoran, before getting trapped in the dark with shadowy stalker and hunter... Golumn.

Don't even ask about the final showdown with a dragon...
Bobby Stubbs
14. Valan
What's he going to do with the final showdown with the dragon? What? I have to know!

*sorry* :)
15. Jonathan--JC
All the great humor aside, I hope Peter Jackson just bites the bullet and does it himself.
Andrew Kaye
16. Andrew_Kaye
The first thing I thought of when I heard this news: "What does this do to Ron Perlman's chances of being in the movie?"

Is that wrong?
17. Miss Allen
What, did NO one think of Sam Raimi? Bilbo has problems with girls then falls in with the rough-trade dwarves, goes on The Adventure, finds Smaug (voiced by Sigourney Weaver, think of it!), gets the ring; HUGE CGI battle over Laketown, then Bilbo gets the girl at the end. Romantic clinch, sweeping music, roll credits!
18. Simon T.
Directors and humor (in part) aside, the producing studio MGM sold off most of its classic library assets to build an MGM hotel in Las Vegas. Maybe in the MGM version Smaug could destroy Middle Earth and put a resort there instead - where everybody could live happier ever after “while they gamble away their noontime, suppertime, chore time,” and ShowTime too. That way no director would have to worry about a collaborative effort gone awry.
Gabriele Campbell
19. G-Campbell
Pedro Almodóvar - the dwarves will all be female and with ISSUES, and there will be at least one bondage scene between Bilbo and Thorin(a).
20. luckytocope
Is it really sick and wrong that, in a popcorn-movie kind of way, I would totally go see Michael Bay's "The Hobbit"? If only for the phenomenal train-wreck possibilities? I mean, pretty much everything he directs could be retitled "Forty Explosions and a Great Big Boom"...

Ooh! I know! Uwe Boll! Then we HAVE to like it or he'll come to our houses and beat us up.
21. Taryntula
Pretty sure the only person on this list that could cinematically pull it off would be Ridley Scott...but like the list said, he's hit or miss. Maybe Nolan, but I would hate for it to be dark and brooding. That's why I wasn't sold on del Toro to begin with...

I too hope Peter Jackson just bites the bullet and does it. There really won't be a cohesiveness to it if he doesn't. JUST DO IT!
22. S.H. Segal

"Ho, Dildo."
"My name is Bilbo! B-I-L-B-O, Bilbo!"
"Verily, whatever you say, little Dildo."
23. Cloudface
Actually, what about a multi-part sequel to LOTR? See, what the hobbits don't know is that Gollum survives the fall from Reichenbach Falls, uh, a-a-and he's got the Ring. Or maybe a three-part prequel?
24. deviousjen
What, no John Peters-produced version where Smaug is a giant mechanical spider and Thorin is a black gay robot?!?
25. Viadd
As long as Leonard Nimoy does the soundtrack it'll be great.
James Hogan
26. Sonofthunder
To be honest, I'm really sad del Toro's not going to do it. And furthermore, while I know PJ would do a good job, I really don't think he should direct it either. LotR is to The Hobbit as filet mignon is to raspberry cheesecake. Both delicious, but very very different. We need a different style director to do The Hobbit to really capture the spirit of the book and I'm afraid PJ wouldn't hit it(I know, heresy).
Brian Cavanaugh
27. jagahanas
What about Wolfgang Petersen? I mean Smaug = Falcor, Falcor = Smaug! Or Kevin Smith: Bilbo has a predilection towards **** and fart jokes and some latent homoerotic undertones towards Gandalf.

Seriously though, I agree, I think Peter Jackson should do it!
Jose Antonio Fernandez Naranjo
28. Whiteorca
Under Quentin Tarantino's direction:

Bilbo the hobbit is smoking his brains off with his pipe, when along comes a bearded hobo that keeps secrets (undisclosed in the movie, of course), and after an hour and a half of confusing, insightful conversation, amdist pipe puffs and an inordinate consumption of some suspect "tea", Gandalf (aka: Mr. Gray) manages to convice Mr. Bilbo (Aka: Mr. furryfeet) to gang up with a bunch of unknown homless dwarfs, to which effect Mr. Gray cons Bilbo to throw a party. After another hour of confusing insights into the lives of the dwarves, part one ends.

Part two of the movie, starts with flashbacks to Bilbo's aversión towards adventuring, complete with gory (go figure) scenes of his folks drowning in the Brandywine river (which may be due to excessive consumption of the couple of brandy, wine, or both). Movie moves forward to bloody action vs the mountain goblins, capped by a sadomasochistic scene with te great goblin. Enter gollum in a short but insightful riddle game, and the acquirement of the ring by verbal treachery.

Next come the Spiders and elves, packed together in a bloody scene where Bilbo wields sting in an amazing display of swordsmanship, having learned (presented through flashbacks) the craft from Cruel Master Bullroarer himself. An interlude Scene in Lake town, where motiviations of all dwarfs (and Bilbo) are disclosed by Bard, which will rather go get a beer than waste the trespassers.

Bilbo bungles the job with smaug, of course, and gets one of his ears cut off by Balin.

Flashes between the battle of Laketown vs. smaug, and the battle of the five armies

Along comes Gandalf Mr. Gray, and carves in Smaug's forehead with his staff the same sigil he carved in the beginning of part one on Bilbo's door

Music: Anything in between the Ramones and Kiri Te Kanawa
Linden Wolfe
29. Lilith
Good grief! I misread Chris Weitz as actor Christoph Waltz and had visions of "Oooh, that's a Bilbo!" or "Au revoir, Biiiilboooo...."
30. RachelAKA
Isn't Michael Mann due for a project? Sort of a "Last of the Hobbits" with lots of slo-mo Bilbo and co. running thru the forest and fighting and slaying to a stirring soundtrack with Enya singing breathily. (Oh, wait, that was LOTR...)

Ron Howard? (I sortof mean it... I think? He made Val Kilmer into a pretty cool swordsman.)

Cristophe Gans? (more of the Jackson horror edge)

Anybody but Chris Columbus. Seriously. Or Tim Burton. Or whoever did that Pirates of the Carribean where they ride the big wheel down the hill for like half a freaking hour, and the people on foot meet them at the beach. Gah.

Hey, 19- Almodovar? That's brilliant.
Ross Presser
31. rpresser
Coen Brothers?

I keep seeing George Clooney as Thorin, puffing a pipe and muttering "Damn! we're in a tight spot."
32. Gorbag
What, no Terry Gilliam?

Just think, there's a Hobbit doing very little in his hillside apartment, living in peace and quiet that is rudely interrupted by a gang of homeless dwarves and a mysterious white-haired stranger, a wizard from the Ministry of Information, or so he says.

Off on the Quest they go, only to encounter the horrors of goblin bureaucracy. The mysterious wizard pulls out his secret weapon and decapitates the Ultimate Bureaucrat, and off they escape.

Again, they encounter further specimens of the Ultimate Bureaucrat in the form of Beorn and the Elven King, who has them filling out endless forms before they can cross the River, and before they can enter Mirkwood. The spiders though are not bureaucrats - they are just very, very hungry.

After escaping all this, they end up in Laketown, robbed blind by the Ultimate Bureaucrats they have encountered. Bilbo steals a boat and off they go, off to meet Smaug. Will Smaug also be an Ultimate Bureaucrat?

Will they live to tell the tale?

Will Bilbo cut through the red tape - apart from that which binds Smaug - and free all the hidden treasures of the Dwarf King Under the Mountain?

Is that Smaug burping I hear?
Wesley Parish
33. Aladdin_Sane
We should have Vincent Ward, after all - a group of Dwarves meet up at a local Hobbit's home to discuss the terrible things that have been happening in the world of late. They dig through the Misty Mountains, surprising a pack of Goblins, who they run from, coming out in London? New York? Paris? Berlin? Beijing?

Taking refuge in a seriously damaged skyscraper, Bilbo grabs a hidden stash of valuables left behind by the same louts who have hidden an inflatable dragon. Bilbo jumps on top of the dragon, and goes for a flight over the city, but the dragon develops a puncture then explodes inot flame over the city, which likewise explodes into flame.

The END.
34. Edward Khil
I don't think anyone is going to direct this film as long as MGM holds the rights.

But, the best choice would be David Lynch. He's already made a legendary scene with a dwarf, and a cross-country epic odyssey with "The Straight Story." And Harry Dean Stanton would be an awesome Gandalf.

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