Our dissatisfaction at Friday's news that Guillermo del Toro would inherit the Hobbit reins from Peter Jackson met with a mix of scorn and curiosity over the weekend. "Pony up an alternative, Cochise," wrote a commenter. "Destroy those two GENIUSES and all we will be left with is Lucas and Spielberg. And that is not a world I wish to live in." Us neither! That said, if the Laws of Hollywood Franchises dictate that this goddamned movie must exist, we can think of at least five talented directors off the tops of our heads whom we'd prefer over del Toro, Jackson or any of the other usual fanboy fantasy suspects. Tell us your own ideal hires after the jump.
1. Alfonso Cuaron. Del Toro's close friend and (with del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) one of the "Three Amigos" conveniently packaged by American press in 2006, Cuaron was Warner Bros.' surprising pick to helm 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But his indie chops came in handy in both humanizing the franchise and positioning it more dynamically against Chris Columbus and Mike Newell's entries that sandwiched it. He's a versatile guy who gets the marketplace but isn't beholden to genre interests; in that way, his similarities to Jackson, who jumped from graphic B-horror comedies like Bad Taste to Heavenly Creatures to LOTR, are almost uncanny. Also, he's just a better director than del Toro; Cuaron could have made Pan's Labyrinth in his sleep, but del Toro couldn't have touched Children of Men.
2. Neil Jordan. Another guy with tons of range, the Crying Game/Michael Collins filmmaker is also a grossly underrated craftsman who could save everyone a lot of time and money by shooting both Hobbit films over about four months in Ireland. Alas, Jackson would likely object to the requisite IRA subplot in which Bilbo Baggins is sidelined indefinitely by injuries sustained in a car bombing.
3. David Lynch. A natural short-lister for any film involving midgets. Plus we all know how well his previous would-be fantasy franchise went.
4. Woody Allen. While it's true that Allen has returned from his four-year European exile with a new project featuring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood, he has made little secret of his availability to the highest overseas bidder. With this in mind, and seeing as Middle Earth's brow-furrowed humorlessness is perhaps its most annoying attribute, we'd like to see Allen invited to New Zealand for a comic run through Baggins' deeply embedded neuroses — not the least of which is his underage shiksa love interest, played by saucy new Disney cast-off Miley Cyrus.