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You're reading: ‘The Hobbit’ director quits amid studio delays
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"In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming "The Hobbit," I am faced with the hardest decision of my life," del Toro wrote in a statement on "Lord of the Rings" fansite TheOneRing.net.

"After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures."

He said he would continue to co-write the screenplays with "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens.

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