Warner Bros. to Finance and Distribute The Hobbit; Elijah Wood Possibly Returning?
Posted 01.07.11 by BrentJS
Even though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) emerged from bankruptcy last month with $500 million to run the newly re-organized company, it still remained a mystery how the studio planned on footing the bill for its half of the production costs of The Hobbit, the two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy that is expected to go into production under the direction of Peter Jackson next month. According to Deadline, that dilemma has been solved as Warner Bros. (WB), which was intially thought to be partnering with MGM to pay half of the production costs estimated to be in excess of $500 million, will be financing the entire cost of the production in exchange for worldwide theatrical distribution rights, with MGM retaining international television rights.
Late last year, it was revealed that Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett would be reprising their LOTR roles of the wizard Gandalf and Lady Galadriel, with Orlando Bloom in talks to return as Legolas, if only in cameo. Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving are also expected to return as Gollum and Elrond, but their participation in The Hobbit has not yet been officially confirmed. But, the most surprising repeat performance so far could be Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, the star of the LOTR trilogy, which Deadline mentioned is a possibility. Frodo does not appear in The Hobbit book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, but Jackson strayed from the source material regarding other characters in LOTR so an appearance by Frodo is not out of the question.
The Hobbit screenplays were written by Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The movie follows the adventures of Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys to the lair of the dragon Smaug to "burgle" loot for a group of dwarves (Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky, Graham McTavish, Mark Hadlow, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy and William Kircher). Other cast members include Sylvester McCoy as the wizard Radagast, Mikael Persbrandt as the shape-shifter Beorn, and Ryan Gage as Drogo Baggins, father of Frodo.