Ross Douthat is cautiously optimistic about the news that Guillermo Del Toro is in talks to direct the Hobbit movies that Peter Jackson is executive producing for New Line. Ross nails precisely the appreciation for tactility that makes this such a promising fit. But I'll go further than he does in the enthusiasm department and say that there is probably no director working in film today, Jackson included, whom I'd trust more with this material. Del Toro's flair for fantasy extends from high art (Pan's Labyrinth) to glorious pulp (Hellboy) and should be magnificently suited to a story, like this one, somewhere in the middle.
Update: In the meantime, fans of Hellboy have this to look forward to.