Warner Bros. has announced that production is officially underway on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. Filming has begun in New Zealand where the production is based, at Stone Street Studios and various locations around the country.
To coincide with the start of the oft-delayed production, Peter Jackson released a pair of images of himself posing in Hobbiton on his official Facebook page. Both can be viewed below and will bring back fond memories of Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings films.
The two Hobbit films will be shot consecutively using digital 3D cameras. They follow the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who sets off on an epic quest with 13 Darves and a warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings films are Andy Serkis as Gollum, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Ian McKellen as Galdalf the Grey. Additional roles are expected to be announced as production moves along.
Collaborating on the script for The Hobbit were Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Guillermo was initially tapped to direct but left the project after concerns about the MGM bankruptcy proceedings delaying the start date forced him to pursue other options. His imprint will not only be on the script but the art designs as well.
The first The Hobbit film will be released in late 2012 and the second in 2013. Extended editions of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are coming to Blu-ray on June 28.