Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson has dismissed rumors upcoming prequel The Hobbit has been delayed due to production problems - insisting the project is still in its early stages.
The adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's first book in the fantasy series was reportedly scheduled to begin filming this summer. Ian McKellen, who stars in the series as wizard Gandalf, apparently confirmed the news in a recent post on his website, revealing the movie will be split into "two films" and will "start shooting in New Zealand in June."
Subsequent reports that movie bosses are not yet ready to begin filming have sparked speculation the project has been delayed, but Jackson is adamant the stories of a postponement aren't true.
He tells Moviefone.com, "Well, it's not really been delayed, because we've never announced the date. I mean it's sort of interesting because the studio has never green lit The Hobbit, so therefore The Hobbit has never been officially announced as a 'go' project, nor have we ever announced a date."
"But there's so much interest that people - newspapers and magazines, of their own account, say, 'Ah, it's likely to film in May, it's likely to film in June, it's likely to film in September'. People make this stuff up. And then if it's not filming in June, you get a story saying, 'The Hobbit's been delayed'. But it's never actually been announced."