Filming has finally begun on long-awaited Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit following months of delays and setbacks, including a battle with actors unions, serious financial problems and a change of directors.
Cameras began rolling on the two-part blockbuster, which stars British actor Martin Freeman in the title role, in New Zealand on Monday (21Mar11), a year later than originally expected.
The film was left in limbo when the studio behind the franchise, Mgm, fell into financial turmoil but eventually got back on track after the company emerged from bankruptcy.
The delays led to the exit of director Guillermo Del Toro and he was replaced by producer Peter Jackson, who had to face down threats from acting unions in a dispute over pay and conditions. The project was further delayed this year (11) to allow Jackson time to recover from surgery to treat a perforated ulcer.
Movie bosses have now confirmed filming is underway in Wellington, New Zealand and a spokeswoman for New Zealand production company 3Foot7 Ltd. tells The Wall Street Journal, "The mood (onset) is really great."
The first of the two movies will be released in December 2012 and the second is expected a year later (13).