Peter Jackson clears up Hobbit rumors

Since producer Peter Jackson announced that he would make two films from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, we've wondered whether he'll split the book in two or make the book the basis of the first movie and use the second to bridge The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings.

Well, he cleared it up for us over the weekend: The two movies will be based solely on the book, even though the films' director, Guillermo del Toro, had suggested the latter approach.

"The second Hobbit script is still based on the Hobbit novel," Jackson said in a group interview Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif., after a press conference for The Lovely Bones. "The Hobbit novel is in two parts."

The Hobbit tells the story of a young Bilbo Baggins' quest for a treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. In the more youth-oriented adventure, Tolkien established the world of Middle-earth, where he later set his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Whereas each of the Lord of the Rings films was based on a separate book, screenwriters Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (with del Toro) have found a middle point where they could end The Hobbit: Part 1 and begin The Hobbit: Part 2.

"Yeah, yeah, we have, but you'll have to wait and see the film to find out," Jackson teased.

The first Hobbit movie is due in theaters in 2011, with part two following in 2012.

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