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Hobbit cameras start rolling in July

Guillermo del Toro poised for action, says Gandalf

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Filming on the two Lord of the Rings prequels will kick off in July, according to Sir Ian McKellen, with helmsman Guillermo del Toro already in New Zealand while the script "proceeds".

The first film will be an adaptation of The Hobbit, the second an "original story" bridging the 60-year gap between Tolkien's first Middle Earth outing and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson is producing, while McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf.

When Del Toro was confirmed as director back in 2008, he enthused: "Contributing to the Lord of the Rings legacy is an absolute dream come true."

McKellen isn't letting much else out of the bag, except to say filming will take "over a year", and casting has begun in Los Angeles, New York City and London. ®

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