Filming has started on director Peter Jackson’s production of “The Hobbit” in New Zealand.
Pre-production on the $50 million, two-movie production was plagued by problems including studio funding problems, a threatened actors’ boycott and ulcer surgery for Jackson.
The director posted a studio news release on his website Monday saying production has commenced in New Zealand on the much-anticipated project.
British actor Martin Freeman stars as hobbit Bilbo Baggins alongside Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom. The movies are based J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel about a short, hairy-footed hero.
“The Hobbit” is a prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by Tolkien that Jackson helmed to blockbuster film success.