In case you missed the earlier announcement, here it is

MGM Chairman says Jackson finds it “impossible” to direct this project:

Jackson, the director of the smash hit Lord of the Rings movies, and producer Fran Walsh will executive produce both a Hobbit movie and a sequel, but no decision has been made about who will direct the films, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, co-chairmen and co-CEOs of New Line said.

MGM Chairman Harry Sloan, who was credited by all parties for bringing about the deal, said Jackson found it “impossible” to direct the film and meet proposed release dates in 2010 and 2011 due to other projects on which he is now working.”He can’t get it scheduled and he doesn’t want the fans to have to wait for the next two movies,” Sloan said. He said the studios might postpone the films if Jackson changed his mind.

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