The Return of the Ian Holm ?

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I love imagining Bob Shaye getting the phone call on the Compass gross and scrambling to the phone to call Jackson and make nice.

(Variety) – After settling a lawsuit with Peter Jackson on “The Lord of the Rings,” New Line co-chairmen/co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne announced jointly with MGM chairman Harry Sloan that the way is clear to turn JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” into two live action films. Rabid fans might be disappointed to know that Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh are on board solely as exec producers at this point. But if Jackson doesn’t ultimately direct, the resolution clears the way for “Spider-Man” helmer Sam Raimi to direct the film. While Shaye said that no creative decisions have yet been made, Raimi has long been interested but only if Jackson was involved. Jackson and Walsh wrote the blockbuster Oscar-winning “LOTR trilogy with Philippa Boyens. The studios are planning to shoot “The Hobbit” simultaneously, as was done on the original trilogy. Aside from continuity of making the films together, New Line and Jackson brought in the trio of films for a spectacularly cost-efficient $400 million. Pending a resolution of the writer’s strike, the studios hope to get a script written and begin production sometime in 2009. MGM and New Line will co-finance the films, with New Line running production and distributing in domestic territories. MGM will distribute internationally.

More Jackson quotes and info and such =