'The Hobbit' Gets Its Greenlight
“The Hobbit” is now greenlit and will begin principal photography in February 2011, MGM, Warner Brothers, and New Line, have confirmed.Peter Jackson will direct the two-part film.
“Exploring Tolkien’s Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience” Jackson said in a statement, "It’s an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama. We’re looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo -- and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM."
Peter Jackson has agreed to direct the film in addition to producing and writing the two-part project.
In the agreement completed this week, Jackson's deal was finalized and MGM and Warner Brothers agreed to give the project its long-awaited greenlight.
The greenlight means that millions of global fans for the revered J.R.R. Tolkien property can look forward to a prequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which was one of the most successful movie franchises in movie history.
Jackson was already on board to write and produce "The Hobbit." But because of financial turmoil at MGM, which owns half of the franchise together with Warners' New Line Cinema, the project became one of the most torturous in Hollywood history.
Sets have already been built in New Zealand, and actors - including Sir Ian McKellan - have been on hold for months.
Martin Freeman has been rumored to play Bilbo Baggins.
With the logjam finally broken, production will begin in February.
However, the individual said that labor issues related to the production have still not been resolved, and negotiations will continue with the Screen Actors Guild. The union flap involves whether the production would use Screen Actors Guild members or not.
About $30 million has already been spent on the project, the first part of which is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 19, 2012.