Neill Blomkamp mugBefore anybody gets crazy, let me be clear that we are not reporting that Neill Blomkamp is the director of ‘The Hobbit’. I am not ready to put my name or TheOneRing’s name on a story that says this is fact.

However, we did receive a spy report that stated it as cold, hard, unsurprising fact. We haven’t been able to get a verification but the tip stated some other information on the side that fits with other info from other sources. A bunch of little pieces of information, some rock solid, some unclear, start to form a big picture that looks like it could have Blomkamp in it. I promise to explain it all if you will keep reading!

MGM and Warner Bros. want Peter Jackson to direct both movies adapted from “The Hobbit.” They are trying to talk him into it because his name can carry the films and is an obvious and bankable marketing strategy.

The problem is, Jackson really didn’t and really doesn’t want to be the director. If he did, he wouldn’t have hired Guillermo del Toro and he would already have stepped into the void and taken on the mantle. He leaves LOTR as his legacy and doesn’t feel comfortable competing against himself in that same arena. One way or another, if it is PJ vs. PJ, PJ loses.

One of those rock solid sources tell us that he is doing everything he can to serve the film but still not step into that role. He had plans to rarely or never even visit the set with del Toro on the project but even now he still hopes to be a guide rather than an overseer. This will be a lot more likely and possible if he works with a director with whom he has an established relationship. This points toward Neill Blomkamp. The two have a relationship of Jackson mentoring without taking over. They trust each other.

Despite not having a named director, the production is moving forward as if all were well and that info is oozing out from every crack everywhere. I am getting contacted by a lot of people involved in the casting process and it is in full swing. Auditions and all the surrounding busy work is happening with the same team that worked on LOTR.

One less familiar spy told us that some casting decisions have even been made, specifically regarding a dwarf or two. Directors may not have the complete casting control that outsiders imagine but doing that without a director seemed a little strange. Could it be a fib or could there be a director in place? With Comic-Con coming up (including a TORn panel to kick it off Thursday, July 22) perhaps the studio is waiting to have the world’s popular culture press gathered in one spot to make its big announcement. That keeps Jackson from breaking the news here at as he and del Toro did.

Another new spy claims that shooting isn’t scheduled for the end of the year as Ian McKellen and previously mentioned spies have speculated but for the very beginning of 2011. We have been posting Hobbiton-under-construction pictures for months and New Zealand’s sometimes crazy weather dictates that you shoot there in the summer so December and January are the right time to begin production. All this points toward the need for a director or perhaps already having one in place.

We also dug out the Warner Bros. report as part of the Time Warner company report from a few weeks ago. The big wigs speak and inspire hope in investors and share holders and explain how the company is moving forward. Warners spoke of two Hobbit films and even used a graphic in its presentation. (Humorously enough, it was a fan-produced, photoshoped image that has been used on the net for years now that Warners presented as its Hobbit imagry!) The point is, the big boys, the brass, the decision makers, the powerful, the rich and the accountable want this thing going forward.

Those guys are smart enough to know, and its obvious from the rest of the presentation, that when del Toro walked away, they took a financial hit and lost an asset. They value talent and they know they lost some. This is why they are pushing for Jackson but they realize other talent can be less famous and still be worthwhile. Who can make them money?

So now this spy report has come in from somebody claiming, well, lets see exactly what was said. After some offhand details that rang very true, we got to the news nugget:

(I) was given the breakdown details for the film, which included who the director is: Neil Bloomkamp.

Spelling aside, it just fits the bigger picture. On a personal note, I spent some time with Jackson and Blomkamp at Comic-Con last year in an interview room and attended the world and geek premiere of “District 9.” While everybody is obligated to speak well of colleagues in such situations, the two of them were seemingly completely at ease with each other and complimented each other. From my first-hand experience, its easy to imagine them wanting to work well together. This was before Blomkamp’s modestly budgeted sci-fi film without a single known star set in Johannesburg went on to be a surprise big earner and received a “Best Picture” Oscar nomination. Talent.

Those who believe he can only make documentary-style splatter films with clever curse-word filled dialog are selling the young talent very short.

In short we know from lots of sources:
1. Jackson doesn’t want to do it
2. He wants somebody he trusts and can be sure of
3. Casting is happening now
4. Pre-pre-production is happening now
5. MGM and Warners need a talent in place yesterday
6. The platform for making a big genre splash announcement is approaching
7. The schedule fits with rumors from many sources
8. Many spies are sounding similar notes
9. One tells us they have seen the film breakdown with Blomkamp directing

So is Neill Blomkamp going to direct “The Hobbit”? Could be. My personal opinion is that this information is correct.
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