The Hobbit start date changed to March 21

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The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

February 7th, 2011

Filming on Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' has been pushed back by a month.

Late February was initially planned as a starting date following months of financial issues, but it has been moved further back following Peter's recent hospital treatment for a perforated stomach ulcer and "actor availability".

According to a statement from Production company 3foot7 Ltd: "March 21, 2011 has been chosen following practical considerations of the filming schedule requirements, actor availability and the New Zealand seasons.

"Shooting will take place at Stone Street Studios in Miramar and on location around New Zealand."

The statement also confirmed the cast of the movie, which includes Sir Ian McKellen as wizard Gandalf and Martin Freeman as the lead character Bilbo Baggins.

Other stars include Robert Kazinsky, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett.

Director Peter added: "Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started."

'The Hobbit' - which tells the story of Bilbo, a small creature whisked away on a treasure hunting expedition - has had a number of delays to production.

First-choice director Guillermo del Toro pulled out after he could not get a confirmed start date for shooting, and acting unions urged members not take part after no deals were made about working hours and conditions.

The first instalment of the film is expected in December 2012, while the second will be released a year later.