'The Hobbit' shoot date announced
08 Feb 2011
Award winning New Zealand director Sir Peter Jackson’s much awaited movie The Hobbit will begin shooting in Middle-earth - New Zealand next month (March 2011).
Jackson’s production company 3Foot7 Ltd has announced The Hobbit’s first day of filming will be 21 March, following considerations of the filming schedule requirements, actor availability and the New Zealand seasons.
"Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started," Jackson said.
The first instalment of The Hobbit is expected in December 2012, while the second will be released in 2013.
Filming of the two-part prequel will take place at Stone Street Studios in Miramar Wellington - New Zealand’s capital city and home to Weta studios which will create the costumes, models and props for the films.
It will also be shot on location around the country including at the village of Hobbiton - near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand - which was created for Lord of the Rings and will be used again after undergoing significant development for The Hobbit.
Hobbiton is open to the public but will be closed for the duration of filming. It is set on a working sheep and beef farm, with spectacular views across to the Kaimai mountain range.
English actor Martin Freeman will star as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit - a role that Freeman was born for, according to Jackson.
Three of Jackson’s favourite actors will return to play alongside Freeman, including Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Elijah Wood as Frodo.
Jackson has also recreated Cate Blanchett’s Lord of the Rings role as the Elvish queen, Galadriel the Lady of Lothlorien - even though the character does not appear in the original Tolkien story.
Other cast members include: Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Rob Kazinsky, Aidan Turner, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Andy Serkis, Mikael Persbrant and Sylvester McCoy.
Background: 'The Hobbit' & 'LOTR'
The Hobbit was originally a fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien, before being adapted into a film.
It was published on 21 September 1937 and won wide critical acclaim - nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction.
The Hobbit follows the quest of home-loving Bilbo Baggins to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug.
While The Hobbit has been adapted and elaborated upon in many ways, its sequel Lord of the Rings is often claimed to be its greatest legacy. The movie versions also put New Zealand on the map as a prime film location.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, directed by Sir Peter Jackson and distributed by New Line Cinema.
Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious movie projects ever undertaken, LOTR had an overall budget of $285 million. The entire project took eight years, with filming for all three films done simultaneously.
Jackson’s multi-award winning trilogy had a major impact on tourism in New Zealand, and several companies now specialise in Lord of the Rings tours.
New Zealand - the perfect Middle-earth
Hobbiton - a slice of Middle-earth
Set-jetting around New Zealand
NZ film-maker: Sir Peter Jackson
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