Washington, Apr 25 : Director Guillermo del Toro has signed on to helm 'The Hobbit', based on JRR Tolkien's book of the same name.
The director will not only helming the movie, which centres on Bilbo Baggins taking the Ring of Power from Gollum, but also its planned sequel.
The announcement was made jointly from the pic's exec producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, New Line president Toby Emmerich, and Mary Parent, newly named chief of MGM's Worldwide Motion Picture Group on April 24.
Del Toro will direct the two films back to back, reports Variety.
The sequel will deal with the 60-year period between "The Hobbit" and "The Fellowship of the Ring," the first of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
Both pics will be co-produced and co-financed by MGM and New Line Cinema, which is also overseeing development and will manage production.
Warner Bros. is set to distribute domestically and MGM handling international.
The signing, which comes four months after New Line settled a lawsuit with Jackson over "The Lord of the Rings" and the announcement that it had reached an agreement with MGM over the 'Hobbit', means that Del Toro will be moving to New Zealand for the next four years.
Once there, he will work with Jackson and his Wingnut and Weta production teams.