First, via Instapundit, I learned yesterday from New Zealand's Dominion Post that Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema and MGM have settled their differences and agreed that Jackson will be the executive producer for New Line Cinema's upcoming movie version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. (Note that he will be the producer, rather than the director, which was his role for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy; another article claims that Jackson is "too busy" to direct the movies) Now, that's not really surprising, but the linked article notes that there will be two movies, rather than just one. What's up with that? The Hobbit is only 300 pages long, shorter than any of the three books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unless they plan to make two 90-minute movies instead of one three hour movie, they're going to have to really embroider the story. (Update: The first movie will be The Hobbit itself, the second movie will cover the 80-year period between The Hobbit and LOTR.) Another problem for The Hobbit may be that even more than in LOTR, there isn't much in the way of parts for actresses. You've got Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, thirteen male dwarves, a dragon, some giant eagles, Bard the bowman, and Gollum. No Galadriel, no Arwen, no Eowyn. The article also notes that casting hasn't yet begun for the movies, which are planned for shooting in 2009, but that they will welcome back members of the original cast where possible. Hint: Ian McKellen should be Gandalf.
Second, TIME magazine has named their Person of the Year, and in a bit of an upset, it's Russian leader Vladimir Putin. What's up with that? Yes, Pooty-Poot beat out The Goracle. I'm sure that Al will demand a recount. Meanwhile, Gen. David Petraeus will just continue to march in Iraq. In my opinion, he is the one who was the real Person of the Year, since his counterinsurgency strategy has been so successful that even the MSM hasn't been able to deny it any longer (Harry Reid appears to be the last diehard denier). I'm a bit worried about Mr. Gore, however. The last time he suffered a setback like this, he put on forty pounds, grew a beard and went off into the desert for forty days and forty nights, before returning to public life as the leading prophet of global warming. Who knows what kind of unhinged behavior this defeat might lead to?