Remember back in November, when Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson told TheOneRing.Net that he and producing partner Fran Walsh were pulling out of New Line's plans to make The Hobbit, and that he wouldn't discuss it further until a lawsuit he had against New Line for its accounting practices around the Ring series were settled?

Now New Line chief exec Robert Shaye, in a classic Hollywood pissing contest, boldly asserts that New Line will not work with Jackson again, ever-ever-ever. So there. In a story on Sci-Fi Wire giving the low-down on the squabble, Shaye is quoted as saying, "He got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right, and this guy, who already has received a quarter of a billion dollars, turns around without wanting to have a discussion with us and sues us and refuses to discuss it unless we just give in to his plan. I don't want to work with that guy anymore. Why would I? So the answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I'm still working for the company." Shaye is also reportedly miffed that several Ring trilogy actors pulled out of New Line's 40th Anniversary celebration, ostensibly to show support to Jackson. Sci-Fi Wire notes, however, that Shaye may not get to just take his ball and go home; MGM, which owns the rights to The Hobbit, told Variety last November that the issue of whether Jackson would direct was not closed.

I happen to be a huge Tolkien fan, and I thought Jackson did as good a job adapting the series to film as could be done. I'd love to see him direct The Hobbit, of course, but on other hand I have a short-list of other directors who I think could do just as good a job with the film, albeit with visions that would be different than what Jackson would likely bring. Alfonso Cuaron, for instance, or Guillermo del Toro, would each bring unique and darkish tones to The Hobbit.

We've had some discussions here before about who could direct The Hobbit, with ideas ranging from del Toro to Terry Gilliam to Guy Maddin (now THAT would be interesting). But what do you think about this whole Shaye-Jackson feud? I don't know the ins and outs of all the legal issues they've been wrestling with, but wouldn't you think, after working together on three films, they could find a way to work it out and kiss and make up?

UPDATE: Hollywood Smackdown: Peter Jackson Fires Back at Shaye -- Nicely

Previous stories about Peter Jackson and The Hobbit:

Peter Jackson NOT Directing The Hobbit
Hobbit Aftermath: Let the Rumors Begin
The Hobbit Web Gets Stickier

[via TheOneRing.Net ]