Hollywood deals being what they are, this story could be out of date as soon as it's posted, but apparently the latest word on Guillermo del Toro directing The Hobbit is still: "Not a sure thing." That's from the director's mouth to the ears of Total Film, which quotes del Toro as saying "the negotiations have not ended and The Hobbit is not a sure thing."

As Monika Bartyzel posted last week, The Hollywood Reporter published an article stating that del Toro was involved in official talks to direct two films based on the source material by J.R.R. Tolkien. If the deal was signed, del Toro and Peter Jackson would oversee the writing of the scripts and work on pre-production, with filming slated to begin in early 2009 on the first installment for release in 2010.

A couple of days later, the Internet went wild with the rumor that the deal had been closed. That was based on a statement reportedly made at the French premiere of the del Toro-produced The Orphanage. As a video posted on YouTube makes apparent, however, del Toro didn't confirm anything: someone in the audience asked in French, the question was translated into Spanish, and del Toro just smiled.

What sort of film would del Toro make out of The Hobbit? In the Total Film interview, del Toro says: '"You know the beauty of The Hobbit, if it were to happen ... is that The Hobbit, out of all the books, is the one that resembles more a fairytale. I loved this very Hitchcockian idea of a very proper, prissy character with a very limited universe being taken on a journey where danger and pain and loss ultimately enhances his view of the world." Sounds good to me! We'll keep our ears open for more Hobbit news.