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Guillermo del Toro quits directing The Hobbit movies

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Wellington (ANI): Guillermo Del Toro has resigned as director of the two The Hobbit movies. The Mexican filmmaker, 45, will, however, help write the screenplays for the Lord of the Rings prequels. "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit I am faced with the hardest decision of my life," Stuff.co.nz quoted Del Toro, as saying.

He added: "After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project."

Taking to TheOneRing.net, producer Sir Peter Jackson said: "We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave The Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone's control – has compromised his commitment to other long term projects."

"The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn"t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I"ve ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him."

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