The descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien, the man who wrote The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, have given New Line Cinema a deadline: they have ten days to pay them 150 million dollars in unpaid LOTR royalties or the case will go to trial in October, thus indefintely delaying the two planned Hobbit movies from director Guillermo Del Toro (the Hellboy films).
As for New Line, they’re no stranger to lawsuits when it comes to Tolkien. Some of you may remember LOTR trilogy director Peter Jackson suing them over not being paid what he was owed, and a legal battle with MGM over who actually owns the movie rights to The Hobbit. New Line should just man up and pay up in my opinion.
Universal Pictures has pulled out of Steven Spielberg’s (the Indiana Jones films) and Peter Jackson’s (King Kong) forthcoming Tintin trilogy because they didn’t agree upon how much the directors should be paid (Spielberg and Jackson wanted 30% of the gross). Now correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t issues such as salary be discussed in the early stages rather than when the movie is supposed to start filming? In any case, Paramount Pictures has stepped in, despite the studio’s current sour relationship with Spielberg.
In related news, British actor Simon Pegg has revealed that he and his Hot Fuzz co-star Nick Frost have been offered the role of detectives Thompson and Thomson (aka Dupond and Dupont originally) in the films, but didn’t say if he’d accepted the part or not.
The Tintin films will be based on one of the most popular and timeless comic books of all time, from Belgian author/artist Hergé. Spielberg has been trying to adapt the books since the early eighties, and is clearly passionate about the project, so even though I’m not convinced about the motion-capture route they’re taking, I trust them.
My only problem with the films is that they seem to be casting only English actors in the roles, whereas Tintin is of course originally in French. Ever since this project was announced I’ve been hesitating about starting a petition demanding the film be made originally in French, with subtitled and dubbed versions released in the US and other countries, but I guess it’s too late now.