Do I want Peter Jackson to direct The Silmarillion film In a one Word No.
For several long winded confused reasons:
For starters Jackson has spent over a decade immersed in the world of Middle Earth and frankly seemed a little bored by the time the hobbit came out-he never really wanted to direct it in the first place, by his own admission he is a casual fan of the books (I’m not even sure if he has read The Silmarillion-Phillipa Boyens one of the Hobbit/LOTR screenwriters and supposedly the Tolkien expert hasn’t read The Silmarillion in over 20 years) and is all likelihood wouldn’t want to be tied solely to this franchise-none of his non Tolkien films have been massive commercial hits (with the exception of King Kong) and in some cases commercial misfires, in all likelihood he’d rather prove himself as a filmmaker rather than spend time re- treading old ground, for all my issues with him as filmaker it would do him, and weta a disservice if they are fmaous for just one franchise.
But most importantly he can't make The Silmarillion for the foreseeable future for one simple reason-because the rights are held by the Tolkien estate.
The Tolkien estate is a small family run organisation headed by Tolkien’s oldest son and literary executor Christopher who edited The Silmarillion for publication-the book was essentially Tolkien’s life work comprised after his death from over 60 years of drafts and notes (most Tolkien scholars’s agree he knows his father’s wishes and personality better than any other person alive or dead) in sentimental value alone I doubt C.Tolkien would want to sell the rights, especially since a film would likely go into much more detail than the book, and likely replacing a viewer’s own images of the book in the process-all too often a film can arguably sideline the book (especially one as complex as The Silmarillion)-look at James Bond, and its likely Christopher (who later admitted to making mistakes in the editing of the book) fears this.
Christopher Tolkien shared his views on the Lord of the Rings films in this recent interview: http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/my-father-039-s-quot-evisce rated-quot-work-son-of-hobbit-scribe-j.r.r.-tolkien-finally-speaks-out /hobbit-silmarillion-lord-of-rings/c3s10299/#.UMCVFpPjnfY
Given how they are expanding The Hobbit (a simple children’s book actually written to entertain Christopher and his siblings as a bedtime story) into three long adult orientated films, I wouldn’t be surprised if his views have grown more embittered.
Admittedly Christopher Tolkien is nearly 90 and has never taken much interest in Modern culture, but his eventual death will not make any difference to the likelihood of films being made from any more of Tolkien's works. It is the Tolkien Estate which controls the rights to all his literary works published and unpublished; this is a small group of people from the family (from what I remember all of them are in their 40’s or above so they wouldn’t likely be influenced by the films that much anyway), all with a shared commitment -- Christopher is currently the chair, but he will be succeeded by his son Adam, who shares his views: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/825-Adam-Tolkien-Interview.php
The position of the Tolkien Estate is essentially that they exist to protect and promote JRRT's literary works and are opposed to these being adapted to other media-they have taken legal action to stop gambling machines and merchandising corrupting the themes of Tolkien’s books in the past, and have resisted attempts for publishers to make works ‘inspired’ by Middle Earth. Much of the money made from sales of the books is channelled into charities, so the estate wouldn’t likely be able to manage a larger workload or the increased exposure more films would bring-they have no interest in them, and no experience so a film with them producing wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing even if they agreed to it
JRRT himself intensely disliked film and drama (he thought such adaptions cheapened the literay value of the original works); he only sold the movie rights to TH and LOTR during his lifetime because he urgently needed the money, and was under the impression the books were unfilmable anyway-how would he know they would still be read 50 years later?. Incidentally he was able to pass critiques on the script of one attempted film of LOTR in 1957, the script though terrible bears some striking resemblances to Peter Jacksons: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Letter_210
The rights he sold allowed full creative control to the filmmakers-Tolkien had no real say in marketing or casting, and only would receive a small amount of the box office gross , the estate actually wound up having to sue New Line cinema for the small amount of royalties they were owed for The Lord of the Rings films, and reportedly have a rather embittered relationship as a result-they are actually engaged in another lawsuit with the Zaul Zaenetz company at the moment (they hold the film rights to LOTR and The Hobbit) so regardless of who wins or what changes If there are more films, it won’t be with the same studio or financiers.
(Peter Jackson actually offered the estate an advisory position on the Lord of the Rings films, but they turned hi down, afraid that such a commitment would publically endorse the film, and they demanded full creative control which Jackson denied them-so essentially there is bad blood between the two parties)
So essentially based on the Estates experience with Warner Brothers and New Line, plus the consequences of the commercialization of the Tolkien works, the pressure and intrusion into their private lives they have zero interest in dealing with filmmakers ever again. They did authorize a few non-profit fan films ("Born of Hope" and "The Hunt for Gollum") but say right on their website that no films will be made of any more of Tolkien's works for the foreseeable future.
Admittedly at some point, The Silmarillion and Tolkien's other works will go into the public domain, but this is many decades hence. The Sil is under copyright in the US until 2064 or later (Christopher Tolkien actually wrote a few sections to fill in the blanks so is a co-author of sorts), and the other works for as long or longer. When they are in the public domain, then films can be made – but it is impossible to know if the interest or demand for more Tolkien inspired films will still be around the
The Tolkien Estate's official site even addresses The Children of Hurin, since the work was released within recent history (and as an expansion of one of the Silmarillion’s chapters/stories is generally considered the most filmable): http://www.tolkienestate.com/faq/p_2/
Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)
The simple answer is NO.
You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".
Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.
The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment.
Are there any plans to produce a feature film from The Children of Húrin ?
There are no plans of this nature in the foreseeable future.
As for my (biased) thoughts:
I love The Sillmarillion, but I'm glad PJ will never make it, he is too commercial a filmmaker and the story (and lanaguage)is too archaic and complex to be faithfully translated into modern cinema-anyway almost everything that connects it to LOTR was missed out in the films, and with no hobbits or gandalf (instead you have incest murder, self serving immortals and heavy religous imagery) they'd probably come up with some dreadful fan fiction to sell it as part of the Lord of the Rings franchise (admit it, it is a difficult book to read), if it were made (which I sincerely hope not) I'd rather see another director *Terrence Malick, Hayao Myazaki* have a crack at it, and would want the tolkien estate to be directly involved in the scripting (it was after all tolkien's lifework and he died before any guarantee of publication was given), but as far as I can see after the Jackson films, there is no way it could be filmed or financed without serious rewrites or expanson utterly missing the point or purpose of the story in the process. A faithful film would bore cinemagoers, a non faithful film would flop.
In short My feelings can be summed up by the following article:
You mentioned the rights issues with adapting The Silmarillion as a series of films. If the Tolkien estate were amenable to such an endeavor, do you think its numerous stories would translate well to film? Are there any stories from The Silmarillion that you’d personally like to see adapted?
I think adapting any portion of The Silmarillion would be substantially more complicated–and controversial–than adapting The Hobbit was. The Biblical tone of much of the work is likely untranslatable to film, as is the sense of narrative remove and the vast swaths of time involved. I think an adaptation of The Silmarillion that is true to the superlative creative core of that specific text, while also in keeping with Tolkien’s broader vision of Middle Earth, would probably look something like Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011)–in other words, it would require experimental shooting and narrative techniques and would be panned by most of those inclined to enjoy Hollywood’s present, big-budget take on the epic. So much of what seems dry and factual on the page would need to be presented as ethereal and impressionistic on the silver screen, and I don’t think Tolkien fans would have the patience for it.
To the extent the stories of The Silmarillion are, in situ, a mythological haze that hangs invisibly over Middle Earth–reified in song and statue, yes, but never touched, in their essence, except in the waking and sleeping visions of individual dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, wizards, and men–you wouldn’t want to falsely crystallize them into what could easily look like a Middle Earth documentary. Shall we tell the story of the Founding of the World as though it were the Battle of the Pelennor Fields? Reimagine Valinor using a simply more sumptuous version of the existing Rivendell set? Can we speak of the beings in The Silmarillion, let alone portray them in film, as just grander versions of the Heroes of the Fellowship? No; if you’re going to cast a film almost entirely with gods, godlike creatures, and legendary personae, you have to employ a visual style that establishes these entities and the events they produce and move through as being somehow beyond our immediate understanding. Jackson would likely not be the appropriate director for such a work, as too many expectations incongruous with such an adaptation already attach, even now, to his projects. We would need, instead, a director, and a screenwriter, with whom our expectations would run much closer to what we’d call an “art house film.”
So I guess I’d say that, failing those prerequisites being met, I don’t think I’d want to see The Silmarillion adapted at all. And so I can’t predict which stories from the book I’d most want to see adapted, as the style of adaptation I’d consider most appropriate would constitute an artistic vision well beyond (at least in cinematic terms) my present understanding or my ability to anticipate.
Rambling I know but I was bored and hey,…you asked.