SIR Ian McKellen is still hopeful the movie adaptation of The Hobbit will be brought to the big screen with Peter Jackson at the helm, despite the director's ongoing dispute with bosses at New Line Cinema. Jackson, who is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with the film company over royalties from The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy, told fans last week (ends24NOV06) that he will not be involved in the big screen adaptation of the JRR TOLKIEN classic, or in another LOTR prequel. MCKellen, whose LOTR character GANDALF also features heavily in The Hobbit, has already questioned his own participation in the fantasy movie if Jackson is not involved. But he remains positive the two parties will resolve their issues in the near future. He says, "Being an optimist, I am hoping that the production companies can settle outstanding problems so that the long-expected Hobbit is filmed sooner rather than later."