Yes, del Toro teased us all with Hobbit talk when he appeared at the Director's Guild of America recently and spilled all kinds of information regarding Middle Earth and his adaptation of Frankenstein. ComingSoon has the whole delicious thing, but I'll post my favorite bit -- his research into the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien: "I find you have to discipline yourself to write in the morning, and then watch and read in the afternoons stuff that seems relevant, even in a tangential way. For example, reading or watching World War I documentaries or books that I think inform The Hobbit, strangely enough, because I believe it is a book born out of Tolkien's generation's experience with World War I and the disappointment of being in that field and seeing all those values kind of collapse. I think it's a turning point that you need to familiarize yourself with."
And naturally, he sounds most excited about tackling Smaug. "Essentially, Smaug represents so many things: greed, pride ... he's 'the Magnificent,' after all. The way his shadow is cast in the narrative you cannot then show it and have it be one thing, he has to be the embodiment of all those things. He's one of the few dragons that will have enormous scenes with lines. He has some of the most beautiful dialogues in those scenes! The design, I'm pretty sure that will be the last design we will sign off on, and the first design we have attempted. It is certainly a matter of turning every stone before figuring out what he looks like, because what he looks like will tell you what he is."
And as for Frankenstein, del Toro promises an adaptation that does not leave its director shirtless. "I'm not doing Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. I'm doing an adventure story that involves the creature. I cannot say much, but it's not the central creation story, I'm not worried about that. The fact is I've been dreaming of doing a Frankenstein movie since I was a child." Naturally, del Toro would find the exciting holes in the original novel (I seem to remember "the creature" being pretty well traveled by the time he hooked up with the doctor again), and exploit them into something grand. And it's still so far away! For films like these, time just moves too damn slowly.