According to The Hollywood Reporter, Guillermo del Toro may be getting ready to enter Middle Earth as the Spanish director is in talks to direct The Hobbit and The Hobbit Sequel.

His success in the fantasy genre (Pan's Labyrinth) as well as his grasp of the fanboy culture was what put him on a short list of directors to take over the project. No writer has been hired as of yet, due to the writers strike.

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Peter Jackson was originally set to write and direct, but the project was shelved due to his dispute over financial reasons. Jackson is now on board as executive producer.

The films will shoot back-to-back, with shooting tentatively set to commence in 2009, with the first film to hit theaters in 2010, and the second to follow in 2011.