While interviewing writer-director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) about his upcoming summer sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, chatted him up about his involvement with The Hobbit. While no deal has been set —”We’re still in these protracted negotiations,” Del Toro says — the fantasy fiend did offer a few promising hints.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So where do things stand with you directing The Hobbit?

GUILLERMO DEL TORO: There have been a lot of discussions of cast and crew, agreements on the direction the movies would go, and if and when I come on board. But other than that, frankly it’s all immaterial until everything is signed and put on paper.

Is the folding of New Line Cinema into Warner Bros. holding things up?

I think it played a role for a few days; being dramatic, I would say a couple of weeks. But the fact is [the movie is] a huge endeavor. It’s about a half-a-decade of commitment. It’s two movies back-to-back that are massive. So a lot has to be sorted out. All I can say is, creatively we are all in sync and eager to commit and move forward.

Does it look like it’s getting any closer?

It does, it does. It’s a little bit of a tango, a couple of steps forward, a couple of steps back. But at the very least, I have the illusion of movement. [Laughs]

Do you think it will all be resolved by, say, the summer?

I would hope so. I would be overjoyed if it’s sooner that that. If it happened, we would definitely make public the [production] calendar.

Is one of the elements of the negotiation your involvement with the script?

Oh, no no no. That is pretty much sorted out. I will be involved, and so will the original team in some capacity. There’s no discussion about that. It’s more the planning of it, the calendar, but nothing as major as that.

And by the original team, you mean Lord of the Rings screenwriters Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens — you would be working with them?

I cannot comment on specifics, but yes.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Movie
  • 170 minutes