Peter Jackson Insists Hobbit Is On Track For 2011; Mentions Possible Unknown As Bilbo

Rumors ran around last week that The Hobbit might not arrive until 2012, based on the fact that the film's shoot might be pushed back a few months later than initially intended. That's not the case at all, said producer and co-writer Peter Jackson while doing some US publicity for The Lovely Bones. The films will arrive on the dates originally intended: we'll see the first in December 2011 and the second a year later.

This is what Jackson said to Collider:

Nothing has changed as far as I am concerned...You don't want to believe everything you read on the internet.  We were due to deliver the scripts and be shooting sometime around April and now I think I said in an interview we were shooting in June.  And somehow people are now saying the film is delayed.  As far as I am aware, they are not delayed at all.  I am not even sure when we are going to start shooting...we are delivering the scripts just after Christmas they'll be finished and we'll be shooting as soon as we possibly can.

Additionally, IGN talked to Jackson about the many rumors around the casting of Bilbo Baggins, played in the Lord of the Rings films by Ian Holm. The big names who've been bandied about in relation to the character include Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Martin Freeman and David Tennant. Some of those are reasonable, some (like Radcliffe) are fairly ludicrous. Jackson says that some were not under consideration, but refused to specify which, so as not to lend additional weight to names he didn't cross off the list.

But he did mention that casting directors are auditioning unknowns for Bilbo as well. Which isn't really out of the blue, and shouldn't be taken to mean that the character will necessarily be played by an unknown. The list of possible 'name' actors who are right for the part is fairly small; factor in willingness and availability and the list shrinks even more. Naturally casting directors are going to look at some unknowns. A new name would also be cheaper than someone established.

Finally, there's this rumor about Tom Waits being of intrest as a Hobbit talent to producers and/or casting directors. This one seems patently absurd if only for the fact that Waits is generally loathe to travel and spend a great deal of time away from his family. Sure, anything is possible (and he'd be great as a voice actor) but I wouldn't bet much on it.