‘The Hobbit’ to begin shooting in January?

Sir Ian McKellen lets slip on shoot date

Ian McKellen has confirmed that he will once again play the part of Gandalf in troubled production The Hobbit – the prequel to Peter Jackson’s incredibly successful adaptations of J.R.R Tolkien‘s Lord Of The Rings books – and that they “aim is to start filming in January”.

Two Hobbit films (which will be shot back to back) are still officially without a director, but it is has been heavily suggested that Jackson will again be at the helm, after Hellboy 2 director Guillermo del Toro left the project due to the ongoing financial problems surrounding studio MGM and their share of the rights. This meant del Toro could no longer accommodate the film’s extended schedule.

McKellen, though, has now confirmed to Theboltonnews.co.uk that he is onboard and production will begin soon.

Del Toro worked with Jackson in the director’s native New Zealand for over two years and would have been director, but left the project in May 2010.

McKellen‘s statement isn’t the first sign that all is well with The Hobbit again. In a June 2010 interview on The Graham Norton Show, comedian Bill Bailey confirmed that he had been asked to audition for the role of Gloin.

An studio announcement is expected soon.