It's no surprise to me that both Warner Bros. and MGM want Peter Jackson to direct the two Hobbit films that are currently pre-development. This is the guy that brought us The Lord of the Rings, and I think it's safe to safe to say that every fan of The Lord of the Rings would love to see Jackson come back and direct The Hobbit films as well. He recently said he wouldn't count out the option if that's what it would take to get the movies made.
According to inside sources the two studios are doing everything they can to sell Jackson on completing the Middle Earth film franchise. This means that no one else has been offered the job, not even Harry Potter director David Yates, as it was rumored yesterday.
Jackson knows the world of Middle Earth like the back of his hand, and he's been involved with every aspect of the development on The Hobbit since the very beginning. The movie is also being filmed in his own backyard so it will eliminate the need to bring in a director to relocate like Guillermo del Toro had to do. This is the man who should direct the film. The good news is he hasn't told the studios NO yet, the bad news is he hasn't told them YES either. So at least we know that he's strongly considering it.
Now of course there are a few other filmmakers that are interested in replacing Del Toro in the director's chair. Sources say that David Yates, David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) and even Brett Ratner are trying to get in on The Hobbit action. Does Ratner seriously think he has what it takes to direct The Hobbit? Just the fact that he has thrown his name into the hat is laughable. This small list of interested directors that want to take on The Hobbit shows that there isn't a lot of strong talent out there willing to take on this epic project.
One other issue is money. Apparently there isn't much left to give to a top-level director. Sources tell Deadline the gross participants include the JRR Tolkien estate, Jackson, Saul Zaentz, even Harvey Weinstein, who bargained for a 5% gross stake in the original trilogy. Whoever ends up taking the directing gig will have to accept a creative deal or it will be hard for the financing studios to make some money.
I guess we can only hope that Peter Jackson realizes that he really is the only person that could take on this project and make The Hobbit the way it should be made.