Jackson, Del Toro Chat About Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien devotees will soon be able to interact with two of the driving forces behind the upcoming big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit. Producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro have invited fans to ‘An Unexpected Party,’ a live chat scheduled for later this month on the website for Jackson’s vfx house, Weta. The two filmmakers will answer questions and entertain comments about the movie in development.

The Hobbit focuses on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, who initially takes the infamous Ring from Gollum. A sequel will deal with the 60-year period between the events in the first book and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movies’ scripts will be written by Jackson, his producing partner Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, in collaboration with Del Toro.

The two Hobbit movies will be co-produced and co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Bros. distributing domestically and MGM handling international rollouts. The studios are eyeing release windows in 2011 and 2012.

After helming the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson handed the Hobbit reigns to Del Toro, a filmmaker he knew fans could get behind. Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth took home three Oscars in 2006 and grossed more than any other Spanish-language film to hit U.S. theaters. The director is currently prepping his vfx-laden comic-book superhero sequel Hellboy 2: The Golden Armyfor release on July 11.

Interested parties in the U.S. can log onto the chat on Saturday, May 24 at 1 p.m. (PT) and 4 p.m. (ET). London time is 9 p.m., and Paris, Berlin and Rome time is 10 p.m. Those in Sydney, Australia can log on Sunday, May 25 at 6 a.m., two hours ahead of fans in Wellington, Auckland. To register and learn more about the web event, go to www.wetanz.com.