Ian McKellen as Gandalf the GreyI love Ian McKellen.  There’s just something so affable about him.  He’s like that uncle who would always sneak you some candy two minutes before dinner was served just because your mother expressly forbid it.

At any rate, Sir Ian posted on his website that principle shooting on The Hobbit will begin sometime in July, pushed back from the June start that had been previously reported.

THE HOBBIT’s, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in July.  Filming will take over a year. 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.

I’m so excited!  Hopefully the reference to old friends means that we’ll see Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen and Hugo Weaving reprising their roles. None of these are confirmed according to IMDB. Neither is the involvement of perennial Del Toro favorites Ron Perlman and Doug Jones, although both would be awesome wherever they are cast (Perlman as Thorin? Please? Pretty please with cheese on top?)

At any rate, pop by Sir Ian’s website when you get the chance.  It’s a great read.