By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 21, 2011 at 1:19AM
Well, ordinarily, a film beginning production is hardly a newsworthy event, but when it's "The Hobbit" some exceptions have to be made. Surviving the near collapse of its home MGM, Guillermo Del Toro leaving last year, union woes and Peter Jackson getting hospitalized in January with a perforated ulcer, at times, the problems around the film seemed unsurmountable. But unlike, say, "Men In Black 3" the new production start date has held and things are finally underway.
Jackson will shoot the highly anticipated sequels in one lengthy 14 month shoot that will mix a host of new actors with some familiar faces from "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy reprising their roles. Martin Freeman leads the cast with Cate Blanchett, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylester McCoy, Adam Brown, Mikael Persbrandt, Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and Ian McKellen all on board.
While the titles have yet to be officially confirmed earlier in the month it was revealed that New Line had registered “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” and “The Hobbit: An/The Unexpected Journey.” So don't be surprised if those reverential monikers, that hold fast to the source material, wind up being the names of the new pictures.
The first installment of the 3D sequels arrives in December 2012, with the second film to follow a year later. [The One Ring]