From a current Empire magazine interview with Guillermo del Toro:
E: What’s happening with The Hobbit at the moment?I feel like I've been waiting to see the Hobbit done right my whole life. I love the idea of it as a movie, partly because it was so easy to imagine as a child and also because it isn't some saga where you know the whole story will take a series of movies to tell or where a lame sequel will ruin the magic. It has a beginning, a middle and an end that can all be contained in one movie. I can't wait to see Smaug done by Peter Jackson and the guy that created Pan's Labyrinth.
GDP: I’m working on it with Peter [Jackson], Philippa [Boyens] and Fran [Walsh] and we’re on the screenplay-writing phase right now. We are all writing. It’s a four-hand screenplay writing assignment. We’re all doing part of the task.
E: Is it hard to adapt The Hobbit to a screenplay?
GDP: To me, The Hobbit is a pleasure because I imagined it as early as I was 11. That one is a very seminal book in my life. The second movie is very attractive and we are wading our way through creating it – but it’s far more complicated.
E: Will any part of The Hobbit spill over into the second film, or will that act solely as a bridge to The Lord Of The Rings?
GDP: You know, it would be silly of me to continue saying things until the screenplays are done. I think the more I set parameters the more I’m gonna break them. We’re keeping it fluid right now, to the point where we are finding out what works.
I'm interested also to see what they do for this second movie that is supposed to be a bridge between the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. It's not based on original Tolkien material and I'm curious to see what Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh can produce. It must be quite something to work so closely on a creative project with your own partner.
[On a side note: when did Peter Jackson get so thin??]