Sound Off: Who Should Direct The Hobbit? - Guillermo vs Raimi
by Alex Billington
December 21, 2007
Over this last week an enormous amount of news and rumors surrounding The Hobbit have arisen. On Tuesday, Peter Jackson announced that all legal issues between him and New Line had been resolved and that he would only produce the films. On Thursday, speculation began as to who could and who is in the running to direct The Hobbit, and two names appeared. Sam Raimi, of Spider-Man and Evil Dead fame, seems to be clearing up his schedule. And Guillermo del Toro, of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy fame, has expressed an interest in directing as well. Until an official announcement is made, let's consider the options and discuss which would be a better choice.
In our article about Sam Raimi's upcoming schedule (which doesn't include Spider-Man 4), it was explicitly mentioned by Variety, an official news outlet, that it's likely Sam Raimi is directing The Hobbit. While this isn't confirmed, Raimi has previously mentioned that he'd be interested in directing it as long as Jackson had also said that he would NOT be interested in directing - as Raimi wouldn't want to tread on Jackson's territory.
As for Guillermo del Toro, SlashFilm ran a piece yesterday with some recent quotes from Guillermo, where it was mentioned that he had "heard some rumblings, but nothing official." So now Guillermo is in the running, too. As this project moves on, the choice of the director will probably be the biggest decision anyone at New Line will ever make. And with two of the world's greatest directors in the running, it's a very tough decision to make. The problem is I don't know who I would side with, because of all directors out there, Raimi and del Toro are probably my two personal favorite directors. This is like choosing with of my two kids I would have to kill to stay alive myself.
I'm going to kick this off by defending Sam Raimi. A number of comments on yesterday's article were condemning Raimi primarily because of Spider-Man 3, a movie that by now most people have recognized as being pretty bad. I'm not trying to defend a movie that I also think wasn't great, but I am going to defend Sam Raimi, who is still one of the greatest directors out there despite Spider-Man 3. First off, the person who created Spider-Man 2, no matter how much they screw up elsewhere, cannot be regarded as an all-around bad director at least because they created what is (arguably) the best superhero movie ever made.
Back when Spider-Man 3 was coming out, I attended a press conference with Sam Raimi. I listened to Raimi speak and answer questions for 20 minutes and by the end I had realized that Spider-Man 3 wasn't his fault. It was partially Avi Arad and partially the other outside pressures that forced him to include Venom. Sure, it was Raimi who ended up making the movie, but after hearing the things he had to say, there is no way he could've made this bad of a movie if he would've done the exact story he wanted. Avi Arad and the producers came in and forced him to include Venom and forced a re-write on the script to turn it into a pile of crap.
Lastly, Raimi is the least "Hollywood-ized" director out of anyone I've met. He's still so down-to-earth and still a geek himself. He would rather chat with you about movies and Spider-Man at the end of a press conference than be whisked away. He has no "spoiler" filter, he just loves talking about things like an excited geek. The more I listened to him and the more I looked back at Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, Darkman, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 2, the more I realized Raimi is still an incredible director who was screwed over with Spider-Man 3. In my mind, he is and always will be a phenomenal director and is still the perfect choice for The Hobbit.
With Guillermo del Toro, I probably love him almost as much as Raimi. Hellboy is my absolute favorite comic book movie and Pan's Labyrinth is a incredible film, and I just love his filmmaking style and fanboy nature as well. However, I almost feel as if he has too dark of a style for it to work with The Hobbit. But at the same time, if he took on the project, he would be as perfect of a choice as Sam Raimi. I can't decide, so it's up to you.
Who do you think is the best director for The Hobbit? Sam Raimi or Guillermo del Toro?
Reader Feedback - 23 Comments
I would have to go with del Toro. Raimi is just too campy, that's his thing, and it's at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from where LotR and The Hobbit should be. I'm hoping the Hobbit can be as huge and endearing as other recent greats, not just another summer blockbuster like Raimi's known for. When it comes down to it, I just don't think he has the versatility to pull off something with class and beauty. Guillermo del Toro, on the other hand, is known for making smart, incredible, rich films and would be the perfect director, in my mind. Strange that the two directors in consideration, as far as we know, are so completely different from each other!
Josh on Dec 21, 2007
What a hard choice. Both directors are incredibly gifted. Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors. Guillermo del Toro is fast becoming another favorite. But I have to give it to Guillermo. He proved he can handle fantasy with "Hellboy" and "Pan's Labyrinth". Even though Raimi's version would be awesome, 2 Hobbit movies would only extinguish any shadows of hope for Evil Dead 4. Best case scenario, Raimi puts Evil Dead 4 up in the same summer as del Toro's "Hobbit". At least I can dream.
Mark on Dec 21, 2007
Del Toro - can't sum it up any better than Josh has.
Micah on Dec 21, 2007
shero on Dec 21, 2007
I nominate a third candidate: Brad Bird. "The Hobbit" is a children's book. Always has been. I worry about both Del Toro and Raimi... and Jackson, for that matter. I worry they would turn it into something much darker, much more severe, and that they would lose the heart of the story. Imagine what would happen if Brad Bird, whose characterization and confident storytelling tends to enthuse both kids and adults, could collaborate with Jackson to create a thrilling, spectacular fantasy film that preserves the heart of this story?
Jeffrey Overstreet on Dec 21, 2007
i enjoyed spiderman 3 for the most part, except his emo stage. maybe wait for hellboy 2 to come out to make a decision, i enjoyed the storyline of the first one, i just didnt like the visuals, like how hellboy looks like a piece of rubber. maybe have a direct-off, both do a short film on a scene from hobbit and whoevers is better gets the job. if raimi directs does that mean bruce campbell will be in it? maybe turn him into a dwarf
harrison on Dec 21, 2007
I would definitely go with Del Toro. We dont want another "EMO-Spidey" thing happening with hobbits
Herbert on Dec 21, 2007
Ewww, emo Bilbo...
Josh on Dec 21, 2007
Peter Jackson! 🙁
Andy on Dec 21, 2007
I still say Spiderman 2 was almost as terrible as 3. The dialogue was so campy and the visuals so basic and flat. Not to mention, Raimi really does not have a grasp on CG at all. And a film like The Hobbit demands top-notch CG. As for The Hobbit being a children's book? Not really. In fact it is VERY dark and eery, and thus a PERFECT match for Guillermo del Toro. His use of lighting and colors in his imagery and his ability to grasp the dark and abstract nature of the human psyche and fantasy is amazing. Sam Raimi is lucky he was given the opportunity to direct the Spiderman films, because honestly, someone better could have gotten the opportunity first and made a FAR better trilogy.
Marty Martin - www.imagenfilms.com on Dec 21, 2007
It's gotta be Jackson. His name is on it. The continuity and legacy of the LOTR films is his to protect, as well as a considerable points profit on the deal. The way he works is hands-on, right up to last minute script changes. No way can he sit back and "exec produce" the thing at an arms length, he has to be in the middle of it directing. Period. The End.
Sheik Yerbouti on Dec 21, 2007
I'm with Marty 100%. I couldn't even sit through the entirety of Spiderman 2. The whole thing just felt so cheap and empty. Maybe Christopher Nolan could do for Spiderman what he's done for Batman, bring it back from the grave better than ever.
Josh on Dec 21, 2007
IT HAS TO BE JACKSON!
Chuck on Dec 21, 2007
Jackson. I agree with Sheik Yerbouti, because there's no other person to do it. It's always like if ever book from Tolkien have always belonged to Jackson, and so the adaptation can only be brought by him. Even if I can visualize the picture made by del Toro (and I really believe it could become pretty amazing and memorable) the thing is that it would never be as great as the first trilogy was. And Raimi would never make it justice, sorry for that. The Hobbit is far more important for the fans for them to let it come from another hands than Jackson's. I talk as a fan. And dark times are these that other directors are talked for the job. I can not even imagine seeing Jackson as a exec producer. It just don't make any sense for me. I can only go back to Middle Earth with Jackson. Like Sheik said: Period. The End.
Madalena Tavares on Dec 21, 2007
Sam Raimi would be an awful choice - I see no connection between Raimi and the Hobbit. Of course, Peter Jackson should direct the film, but if he doesn't, it better be someone that can express the heart of the Hobbit. After seeing Pan's Labyrinth, I would say that del Toro is a possibility due to his ability to create fantastic worlds and moods, both elements of the Hobbit. But the reality is that it REALLY should be Jackson, the only person with enough passion and commitment to bring the Hobbit to the screen in a way that is faithful to the heart of the story. Once again: Sam Raimi would be a ridiculously awful choice! Please OH PLEASE don't let it be Sam Raimi!
Dylan on Dec 21, 2007
Del Toro. He knows how to handle dark material and his films are very mature and deep. Raimi would do good with it Im sure, but he does make campy films. If he did direct I don't necessarily think it would be campy, I actually don't think that at all, I just think Guillermo could do it better. Spiderman 2 was a great film, Spiderman 3 was terrible. Enough said.
Keith on Dec 21, 2007
Neither choice thrills me. But if a gun was to my head...I'd go with Del Toro. The choice is only a matter of "who would dissapoint less." The only satisfactory choice is PJ... or Irvin Kershner. 🙂
Christopher on Dec 22, 2007
Del Toro. While one could characterize The Hobbit as a children's book, the LOTR trilogy had a nasty streak to it - a dark, twisted undercurrent that I think needs to be there in the Hobbit, especially in regards to Gollum and how Bilbo gets the ring. However, we shouldn't immediately assume Raimi can't do this kind of material. For twisted drama, he did some pretty good work in The Gift and A Simple Plan was a hell of a movie - they just weren't seen by that many people. It's a bit judgmental to think he'll flat out make it campy. That said, if Jackson can't do it or the studio won't wait for him, then Del Toro has the edge on the style and dramatic flair to nail it.
bob jones on Dec 22, 2007
Del Toro!!!!! no other way to put it...Sam Reimi is not a good director...sorry to say so, but I have never FULLY enjoyed any of his movies.....they were never really grown breaking, but campy and poor when on tohe character development side, not to mention dialogue..... all 3 spidermans were the worst of the worst of cinema...only some of the action was any good and the charecters were horrifyingly flat and non intersting..... areime is on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to Tolkien's work, and would never figure a good way to visualize the story....and while Del Toro is an awsome director, who has nearly never let me down (Pan's Labytrinth was a little hard to define with the nice fantasy scenes clashing wildly with the horrible violence of the spanish revolution), he is the better choice out of the two...although P.J. is the best one, ultimately.
Israelidude on Dec 22, 2007
they two are both very good.maybe they two will work together.it just my wish.R was said was found to appear on a millionaire$celebrity dating club "WealthyKiss.com"where Chairle sheen found some dates with hot girls.true or joke?
hello on Dec 23, 2007
Peter Jackson! Peter Jackson! Peter Jackson!!!!!!!!! I'll say this 3 times, for the 3 great LOTR movies that he directed. There is no contest. I'm sure both Del Toro and Raimi are good directors (even though I didn't care for Spiderman 3, but Hellboy was banging and Hellboy 2 looks llike it will be just as good), but they are not Peter. I watched all of the special features regarding the making of LOTR and you can see how dedicated he was to not only the story line, but the Heart, Soul, or whatever you want to call it, of the Tolkien world. The Hobbit is in the same world, so why would you pick someone else to do this story? I think the success of the first 3 movies should tell you something!!! PETER, PETER, PETER!!!!!!!
Tickle on Dec 24, 2007
It just has to be Del Toro. It seems Jackson isn't going to do it and frankly, if someone is hedging this much about it then I wouldn't want him to do it, it's clear he doesn't want to. Del Toro is the only choice for me. The Hobbit is a dark story with fantastic creatures and surprising beauty and in my opinion can't be directed by anyone else.
Amy on Dec 26, 2007
The Hobbit is to this day still my favorite book, and I'd been crossing my fingers for Jackson to direct, but now that this is not an option, it should be Guillermo del Toro. He even has something that Jackson doesn't; he likes magic. In interviews Jackson would talk about how he would shy away from magic and talking beasts when he was able because it sucked out the realism, but that's what Tolkien's all about! Del Toro would do a fantastic job, and I would LOVE to see his vision of Riddles in the Dark, arguably the best chapter in the book, along with the arguing trolls Tom, Burt, and William. I get giddy just thinking about it. Raimi would completely crush the heart of the story, I think, by trying to cram campy humor into a beautiful tale, and even if he did it seriously, I just don't think his storytelling tactics are the right style for something as cinematic and grand as The Hobbit. Is WETA going to do the effects for the Hobbit? I'm crossing my fingers for that as well.
Danny on Jan 4, 2008
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.