Guillermo del Toro in 'Hobbit' Talks

Geeks rejoice! "Pan's Labyrinth" helmer Guillermo del Toro is reportedly in talks to direct New Line and MGM's two-part adaptation of "The Hobbit."

The long-gestating J.R.R. Tolkien project will be executive produced under the auspices of Peter Jackson, who earned both Oscars and lucre for his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Del Toro's name has always been at the top of the franchise's directorial wish list since Jackson, MGM and New Line reached an agreement to team on the project back in December.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Del Toro and Jackson would oversee the writing of two scripts once the strike ends. The two-film package would be shot back-to-back starting in 2009, with the trade paper estimating a $150 budget for each projection. The first film would hit theaters in 2010, followed by a second in 2011.

"The Hobbit" was first published in 1937 and introduced readers to the Baggins clan (particularly Bilbo), plus wizard Gandalf and an assortment of dwarves and elves and other Middle Earth denizens. The specifics of how the project is being split into two are mostly the stuff of rumor thus far.

Del Toro most recently produced the widely respected Spanish ghost story "The Orphanage." The director's "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," his first trip behind the camera since "Pan's Labyrinth," will open this summer.

Other directing credits for Del Toro include "The Devil's Backbone" and "Blade 2."

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