As New Line continues its spectacular fallout with Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson, time is running out to find his replacement, with SPIDER-MAN director SAM RAIMI the latest name in the frame.
Raimi announced this weekend that he would be interested in taking on the project, which caused murmurs of excitement from some of the army of fans not too busy bemoaning the loss of Jackson.
The Los Angeles Times claims that Raimi has been approached by New Line to take over for the prequel, before the rights revert back to MGM and SAUL ZAENTZ, who are eagerly awaiting the chance to make the movie themselves with Jackson at the helm.
JRR TOLKIEN's epic LORD OF THE RINGS was such a success, it was inevitable the original children's book by the Oxford don, THE HOBBIT, would be made as a prequel, Star Wars style, to continue the lucrative franchise.
The action centres around BILBO BAGGINS and how he came by the ring, setting up the action for the trilogy. Hence there are rumours that legendary British actor SIR IAN HOLM could reprise the role, albeit in a much younger guise.
Fansites have been rife with rumours on the subject, with other actors able to make a return, as their characters feature in THE HOBBIT, including SIR Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum.