Sam Raimi has been telling his business associates that he may jump onto The Hobbit, for his next directing project. Two insiders, described as "top-level" by Friday's L.A. Times, claimed to have heard this from the director's own mouth. An undisclosed New Line source also told The Times that there probably won't be a single Hobbit adaptation, but two films. Raimi has yet to meet with New Line heads about this move, and the story points out that the distribution rights to The Hobbit are held not by New Line, but MGM, which remains committed to having Peter Jackson direct The Hobbit.
An MGM source gave the following statement to The Times: "We support Peter Jackson, and when the dust settles, we believe he is the one who will be making this movie." That is, of course, highly unlikely considering the battle currently going on between Jackson and New Line chief Bob Shaye. Jackson is tangling with New Line over profits that he says he is owed from the Lord of the Rings franchise. Shaye has famously hit out at Jackson's claims, saying that "he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I'm still working at the company."