Peter Jackson begins “Hobbit” filming today

By Sean O’Connell After months – nay, years – of pre-production, Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” finally begins filming today.

The 3D project, which will be divided into two films, will “start filming at Wellington’s Stone Street Studios, one of two confirmed locations,” according to the New Zealand Herald.

The production’s delays are legendary, consisting of labor strikes, director switches, studio stalling, Jackson’s health scares, and more. The Herald estimates the production’s cost to be $500 million, but noted that the studios “agreed to keep filming in New Zealand after the government changed employment laws and granted the studio millions of dollars in tax breaks.”

As for Jackson’s cast, Sir Ian McKellen continued to update fans on his Web site, saying that “Hobbit” rehearsals have been “as close to bliss as an actor can get.”

The first “Hobbit” will be in theaters in December 2012, with part two arriving the following year.

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