It seems that the rumors of Peter Jackson being ready to assume the director's chair of The Hobbit are looking solid. According to The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision, the Lord of the Rings director has been having low-key meetings with potential cast for the film. -- A process that, say, a film's director might be inclined to oversee. Still in the midst of a production stalled by the financial difficulties of MGM, the film has not been green-lit. Yet, it appears that Jackson is rightfully not letting this time go to waste and could have a production that's ready to dash furiously once the starting pistol is finally fired.
According to the report:
"Jackson, who has been in L.A. since Saturday, is working with casting director Victoria Burrows on assembling what will likely be a large, international cast for the project."
Since one of the conditions of Jackson's directorial deal reportedly depends on the film's two parts being being fast-tracked to theaters by 2012 and 2013, this may be a sign that the inertia may finally be breaking in this process. The casting effort, which had taken Jackson to New York and the U.K. could therefore be taken as a sign of progress in the aforementioned deal.
The Hobbit is in a tenuous situation, not just because of MGM, but by the mere logistics of what getting the films made will entail. The potential director, be it Jackson or someone else, will have to make a serious commitment. If the films do ultimately get fast-tracked to 2012 and 2013, they will still require a qualified director to effectively cancel existing projects on his/her docket and will have to get into the swing of all things Tolkien very quickly. Conversely, if delayed, they could be bogged-down with dilatory ennui caused by the loss of key personnel and actors, most notably its Gandalf in Ian McKellen, who is on the verge of abandoning the project. Either way, it's going to be a nightmare to tackle. It won't have time for training wheels and needs someone who's intimately familiar with what it takes to bring Middle Earth to life.
Hopefully if it is Jackson, there will at least be a movie left to make after he's assembled his cast.