''I'm glad there's not a fourth 'Lord of the Rings' film next year,'' director Peter Jackson told reporters at Monday's premiere of ''The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'' in Berlin. ''I feel very tired and exhausted.'' Still, making J.R.R. Tolkien movies is a hard hobbit to break. According to Reuters, Jackson reiterated his desire (which he expressed last week at ''Return'''s world premiere in New Zealand) to shoot ''The Hobbit,'' Tolkien's prequel to the ''Rings'' trilogy, which would mean bringing back some beloved characters from the Middle-earth saga.
''I'd be interested in doing it because I think it would give continuity to the overall chapter,'' Jackson said of ''The Hobbit.'' That book, which Tolkien wrote before ''The Lord of the Rings,'' tells how hobbit Bilbo Baggins, whom the wizard Gandalf had sent out on an adventure with a group of dwarfs, spirited the Ring of Power away from cave-dweller Gollum, without any inkling of the Ring's evil nature or the havoc it would cause 60 years later for his nephew Frodo. A ''Hobbit'' movie would bring back Ian McKellen's Gandalf, Andy Serkis' Gollum, and possibly even Liv Tyler's elf princess Arwen, Jackson said. No word on whether Ian Holm would return as Bilbo or whether Jackson would seek a younger actor.
Before he could film ''The Hobbit,'' Jackson will be shooting his remake of ''King Kong'' for Universal, probably starring Naomi Watts in the Fay Wray role. At last week's New Zealand premiere of ''Return,'' Jackson said that ''LOTR'' studio New Line hadn't yet approached him to film ''The Hobbit'' and noted that there would be difficulties securing the movie rights. However, he said he was ''keen'' to do it, adding: ''It would be wonderful to complete the set of films.''