Guillermo Del Toro pulls out of directing ‘The Hobbit’

Lord Of The Rings' Peter Jackson says he’ll step in if necessary

Producer Peter Jackson could direct Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit after director Guillermo del Toro announced he would no longer be looking after the project.

Writing on fan site yesterday, the Mexican explained that he would still be writing the screenplay but couldn’t fit in directing the two films after work was delayed.

Del Toro said: “In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.

He added: “The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project.”

Jackson told New Zealand paper The Dominion Post that he would replace Del Toro if it was the only way the $150 million film could continue, explaining that the earliest date for filming would now be November.