It's about time! It looks like The Hobbit is going to move into production this summer starting in June for a year long shoot. This news was confirmed by Ian McKellen who as you all know plays Gandalf in the epic tale. Here is what he had to say on his website:
THE HOBBIT's, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in June. 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.
Since casting is underway we should be finding out who is going to be playing Bilbo very soon. The Hobbit is being produced by Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro is going to be the man that brings this story to the big screen. I can't wait to see how this movie turns out!
Here's J.R.R. Tolkien's own description for the original book:
If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) -- if you do not already know all about these things -- much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period.
For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon , Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.