While attending the London world premiere of Casino Royale, MGM chief Harry Sloan talked a little bit about the studio's upcoming film slate, which (for the time being) includes those highly anticipated Hobbit films. Last we heard, MGM was in discussions with New Line for the rights to produce two Hobbit pics, though we weren't sure whether Peter Jackson would be involved or not. Most of you felt the same way I did -- no Jackson, no way. Well, the good news is Sloan admitted that MGM was in talks with Jackson to "make" (once again, we're not sure if that means as a director, a producer or both) two films based around the Lord of the Rings prequel.
And the bad news? Those discussions with New Line won't go anywhere until Jackson settles up a lawsuit he has with the studio over a ton of dough from the franchise that he feels he's entitled to. Drats. We hate lawsuits. However, Sloan felt confident the films would get made, and said that the first would be a direct adaptation of The Hobbit, while the second "would be drawn from footnotes and source material connecting The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings." I'm not so sure about that second film, but the first one definitely needs to get made.
In case you're interested, Sloan talked more about The Pink Panther sequel, The Thomas Crown Affair follow-up and whether or not Rocky Balboa would continue to fight well into his 80s. Personally, I'd like to see a Rocky film that features him fighting over a game of Bingo in a retirement home. " Yo Adrian, I did it -- BINGO!"