If you thought that the brouhaha between Peter Jackson and New Line was weird – the two parties are enmeshed in a lawsuit, Jackson claims that the studio wanted to include him directing The Hobbit as part of the suit, Jackson got very public about it – it just got weirder. And maybe angrier. Bob Shaye, head of New Line, has essentially blacklisted the director from working with New Line.
"I do not want to make a movie with somebody who is suing me," Shaye told SciFi.com "It will never happen during my watch."
That’s the easy stuff. Shaye went on to all but blame the problem on Jackson’s greed. "There’s a kind of arrogance," he said. "I don’t care about Peter Jackson anymore. He wants to have another $100 million or $50 million, whatever he’s suing us for. He doesn’t want to sit down and talk about it. He thinks that we owe him something after we’ve paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars. … Cheers, Peter."
There’s much more – including how actors are not participating in New Line’s 40th anniversary because of this – at SciFi.com.
I have to admit I’m baffled. If New Line had a great 2006, I would understand this attitude, and being so public about it, but as far as I know, Final Destination 3 was the studio’s biggest moneymaker last year, and they totally fucked the release of Little Children. Shaye is making all this noise on the weekend his studio released Codename: The Cleaner, for the love of God, and they have The Number 23 – the movie that apparently prompted Jim Carrey to fire his agent – as one of the highlights of their upcoming year. You would think it would be in the studio’s best interest to at least try to make nice with Jackson, one of the biggest and most successful filmmakers of the last decade. Unless Shaye looks at King Kong and sees Jackson as over, which would seem hasty and premature to me.
The fact is that if The Hobbit goes forward, its release will have this black cloud looming over it the whole time. This feud is too public to be ignored, and it will be the main focus of almost all the media coverage when the movie comes out. It seems like a bad idea all around.