Ian McKellen: ”The Hobbit’ will start filming in July’

Gandalf blogs about start date for Lord Of The Rings prequel

Ian McKellen has announced online that filming for The Hobbit is set to start in July.

The British actor will reprise his role as wizard Gandalf in the adaptation of the book which precedes the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. It is expected that JRR Tolkien‘s novel will be split into two parts.

The film will be directed by Pan’s Labyrinth‘s Guillermo del Toro, with Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson producing.

“Filming will take over a year,” McKellen wrote on Mckellen.com. “Casting in Los Angeles, New York City and London has started. The script too proceeds. The first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle Earth. The director Guillermo del Toro is now living in Wellington, close to the Jacksons‘ and the studio in Miramar.”

While the full cast is yet to be confirmed, Andy Serkis is returning as the cave-dwelling Gollum from Lord Of The Rings, though it is unclear whether Ian Holm, who portrayed Bilbo Baggins in the film trilogy, will reprise the role as the character takes centre-stage in the story.

New Line, the studio behind the film, have yet to confirm a start date, however.