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The Hobbit Casting Begins + Peter Jackson Clarifies Production Rumors

Peter Jackson has revealed that casting for the two Hobbit films started this week.  Jackson, who will produce the two films and is writing with screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and director Guillermo del Toro also discussed some details on its status:

“We’re still working on the script, and of course it’s going to be directed by Guillermo [del Toro],” Jackson said. “That’s going really well, and in fact we’ve already delivered the first script to the studio, and they really liked it, so now we’re working hard on the second script, and that’s going to keep us pretty busy until the end of this year.”

“There’s no budget yet, and no cast, but we plan to start shooting next year, with the first one coming out by the end of 2011, hopefully,” Jackson said. “And while Guillermo’s making The Hobbit, I’m not quite sure what I’ll be working on, as I want to make completely sure that I’m doing what I need to do for The Hobbit, and that I’ll be there to help Guillermo.”

Jackson also confirmed that the two films will draw solely from material in the The Hobbit and that they’ve settled on a break-point between the two parts:

“The second Hobbit script is still based on the Hobbit novel,” Jackson said. “The Hobbit novel is in two parts.”

“Yeah, yeah, we have, but you’ll have to wait and see the film to find out,” Jackson said when asked about where the break will occur.

And finally, here are some details in regards to the casting of the film, courtesy an interview Jackson conducted with THR”s Heat Vision Blog:

“We’re auditioning for every role,” Jackson said in an interview [via THR’s Heat Vision Blog]. “What we’ve done over the years is discover a lot of interesting actors, like Orlando Bloom (in ‘Rings’), Kate Winslet (in ‘Heavenly Creatures’), Saoirse Ronan (in ‘The Lovely Bones’). So if you start looking and auditioning seriously, it’s amazing what incredible talent you’ll find out there.”

“Apart from Ian McKellen, who we obviously want to return as Gandalf, we are not really offering any roles to anybody until we’ve done a casting sweep,” Jackson said.

“(These movies) have never been a star-driven vehicle. The star is (author J.R.R.) Tolkien and the world he created. We are not under any pressure. We want to find the right people. Casting someone to portray a hobbit is not as easy as you might imagine. They have to have a particular type of physical appearance and a sensibility. And the same with an elf or a dwarf. These are fantastical characters, but you’ve got to find the right people to play them, the right humans to translate these characters.”

Jackson’s latest film The Lovely Bones hits theaters this Friday, December 11th.  The Hobbit: Part 1 is scheduled to hit theaters in 2011 followed by The Hobbit: Part 2 in 2012.

Sources: SCI FI Wire and THR’s Heat Vision Blog

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