Originally published on JRR Tolkien Examiner on 12/4/09.
Much of the editorial focus of JRR Tolkien Examiner is on the upcoming, two-part film version of The Hobbit, to be released at Christmas 2011 and 2012. The Hobbit Report brings you the latest developments as the production progresses.
Tolkien movie fans were dismayed to learn this week that production on the two-part The Hobbit feature film will not begin in March 2010, as was previously announced.
Producer Peter Jackson told a German film site that principal photography on the Lord of the Rings prequel will not begin until mid-2010 at the earliest.
As translated by TheOneRing.net:
We’re currently working on the second script which we hope to have completed by the end of this year or beginning of next. When the scripts are completed, we can begin with the exact calculation of the necessary budget. We hope to start filming in the middle of next year. However, we’ve received no green light from the studio yet.
Reports online suggest that production will begin in July, and that the original Christmas 2011 release date for the first film will be pushed to December 2012, delaying the second installment to the end of 2013. But neither rumor has been officially confirmed.
Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly says that casting agents have been hired in London and Los Angeles. To date, several Lord of the Rings stars have become attached to the project, although no one is believed to be under contract as of yet: Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (Gollum); Hugo Weaving (Elrond); and Ian Holm (old Bilbo).
Speculation is also rife on who will be cast in other roles. Names bandied about include Doctor Who’s David Tennant (as young Bilbo), original Hannibal Lector Brian Cox (possibly as Thorin Oakenshield), and comic legend Stephen Fry as a Dwarf (I’m guessing Balin).