Green Light

The Hobbit to Begin Production in February

Bilbo Baggins will finally see the light of day as the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel The Hobbit has been green-lighted, according to TheWrap.com. Citing an unnamed source, the website reported that MGM and Warner Bros. have set a February date for production to begin on The Hobbit. Peter Jackson, who directed the three Lord of the Rings films, is set to take the helm again. The film project has been plagued by setbacks for years. MGM declared bankruptcy and was forced to enlist Warner Bros. as a partner to get production started. Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro quit the project five months ago. And the film is still facing a slew of labor issues in New Zealand, where filming is to take place. According to The Wrap, the budget for the two films is estimated at $400 million, with the first film set to hit theaters December 19, 2012, and the second arriving sometime in 2013. There’s no word yet on who will play Bilbo Baggins, the film’s central character, although British actor Martin Freeman (U.K.’s The Office) is rumored to be the frontrunner.