October 18th, 2010
12:59 PM ET
J.R.R. Tolkien fans can rejoice – the movie version of "The Hobbit" is actually happening and is expected to start filming early next year.
According to a joint statement released to The Hollywood Reporter by New Line, MGM and Warner Brothers, "The two films based on 'The Hobbit' are now greenlit and will begin principal photography in February 2011, under the direction of Peter Jackson."
While the movie is expected to shoot in New Zealand, where the mega-hit "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was filmed, a labor dispute between Jackson and New Zealand Actors' Equity and SAG might require the production to move elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Deadline.com reports that Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis are expected to reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum, while "Hot Fuzz" star Martin Freeman is rumored to be attached to the role of Bilbo Baggins.
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