Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro has put a stamp of approval on rumours that the upcoming Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit has been indefinitely put on hold owing to a "tangled negotiation" over the future of the MGM movie studio.
The film, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's first book in the fantasy series, was reportedly due to begin shooting this summer (10), but has now been mired in delays.
Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson, who will act as producer on the new film, recently dismissed rumours of trouble with the picture.
"It's not really been delayed, because we've never announced the date,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.
But now, Del Toro has revealed that the film is the latest victim of the ongoing problems at MGM.
The famed media company was put up for sale last year (09) after falling millions of pounds in debt, but a buyer is yet to be found.
"It's not greenlit. That's categorical. We've been caught in a very tangled negotiation. There cannot be any start dates until the MGM situation gets resolved. They do hold a considerable portion of the rights,” he told Comingsoon.net.
However, the director has confessed that preparation work has already begun so the film can begin production as soon as the go-ahead is given.
"We have designed all the creatures. We've designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battle sequences. We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered,” he added.