The Hobbit start date changed to March 21

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.