The Hobbit gets the official greenlight

We pledged to stop reporting on the seemingly-doomed production of The Hobbit until we received some concrete news on the project. Well, here we go! MGM have officially greenlit two 3D films based upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel.

Peter Jackson (as has long been rumoured) will direct both instalments. Principal photography begins February 2011 (you were close Sir Ian!).

Martin Freeman is still rumoured to star as Bilbo Baggins, but we’ve had no official confirmation.

I’ll now hand it over to the official press release:

Jackson, who directed all three “Lord of the Rings” films, will helm the two films back-to-back, telling the story of “The Hobbit” in two parts. Jackson will utilize groundbreaking visual effects and his incomparable story-telling to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel to the big screen. Both Hobbit movies will be filmed in Digital 3-D, using the latest camera and stereo technology to create a high quality, comfortable viewing experience. Jackson also co-wrote the screenplays with Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.

“The Hobbit” is being co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production, Warner Bros Pictures handling domestic distribution and MGM distributing internationally. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham are producing the films, with Phillipa Boyens as co-producer and Ken Kamins as executive producer.

Discuss: O.K., so the ball is now rolling. Your thoughts? Is Jackson the right man for the job, or would you rather see him put his energy into another project?

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