This should come as no surprise to anyone who saw District 9, but Neill Blomkamp is a good director. Critics know this, fans know this, and the film’s producer Peter Jackson knows it as well. Jackson knows it so well that he’s apparently begun looking intently at Blomkamp to take over directorial duties on The Hobbit, a seat recently (and not shockingly) vacated by Guillermo Del Toro.
The news comes from The One Ring, perhaps the most reputable source of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit related news. They are saying that Jackson wants Blomkamp. It’s also a clear power-play for control of The Hobbit without having to direct it himself. He and Blomkamp have a great working relationship, but Blomkamp is still young and would certainly need guidance from Jackson in order to take on a task that towers above that of District 9. If Jackson were to bring on a more seasoned director — the likes of Sam Raimi or Brett Ratner — that director’s personal style would need to be melded into the already decided Hobbit roadmap.
But that’s not the reason I think Blomkamp directing The Hobbit would be a terrible idea. Beyond the fact that Peter Jackson should just man up and direct it himself (it’s going to be his movie either way), he would be putting Blomkamp in an unfavorable position as a young filmmaker. I hate the idea of Neill Blomkamp — one of the most talented and original storytellers we’ve seen in a long time — spending the next three or four years of his life making two Hobbit films that are essentially Peter Jackson’s movies. It’s impossible to see a scenario where Blomkamp would be given room to do anything more creative than what has already been decided. And that’s sad. He has more to say with his work if he’s not bound to such a franchise.
If Jackson isn’t going to direct these Hobbit films, but instead hire a director in name only, he should give the job to someone who wouldn’t otherwise be making interesting films. David Yates comes to mind. With Harry Potter in the can, that guy has nothing left. The Hobbit is perfect for him. And it would leave Blomkamp to go off and tell more interesting stories.
What would you think of Neill Blomkamp taking the reigns of The Hobbit?