Shooting finally begins on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

After months of delays, filming has started on Peter Jackson's new movie, in the lush scenery of Wellington, New Zealand

After months of delays, filming has finally started on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, against a backdrop of lush scenery in Wellington, New Zealand.

Up until now, the two-movie project – set to hit screens in 2012 – has been plagued by problems.

First, there were a host of financial issues, after the £500 million funding from the studio was called into question.

Next, threatened actor strikes almost overshadowed the movie, shortly before the director himself fell ill with an ulcer, resulting in a hospital stay.

Now, with filming finally underway, Jackson has released photos on his Facebook account showing filming at the home of hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins, Bag End.

Similar shots were taken way back in 1999 when they began filming his wildly successful Lord of the Rings saga.

The Oscar-winning director looked dramatically altered in his new pics, having lost a dramatic amount of weight through a new diet.

‘I just got tired of being overweight and unfit, so I changed my diet from hamburgers to yoghurt and muesli and it seems to work,’ he said in a 2005 interview. 

Peter Jackson filming The Hobbit

The prequel films, based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy novel, will star The Office favourite Martin Freeman in the lead role.

Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett will also all be returning to the franchise.

The $500 million films are to be filmed in 3D HD, with the first scheduled for release in late 2012. After shooting his first three blockbuster films there in 2001-2003, New Zealand experienced a massive boom in their tourism and film industries; these look set to promise the same.

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