From The Telegraph:
'The project had been delayed by financial problems at the beleaguered Hollywood studio MGM. No location has been named for filming amid an ongoing union threat to boycott the production if it takes place in New Zealand.
The films, with a budget estimated at up to $500 million (£315 million) will be shot in 3D. Peter Jackson, who was behind the award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, was confirmed as the director.
Guillermo Del Toro had been recruited to direct but left the project in May because of delays after working on it for nearly two years. Jackson said the films would be "an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama."
But it is thought that a number of well-known British faces will appear in Middle Earth in the remake of JRR Tolkien's classic book.
Martin Freeman, who starred in The Office, turned down the role of Bilbo Baggins because of filming dates but hopes that the part can be resurrected.
“If something could be worked out, that would be great,” he said.
Other names being spoken of landing major roles are James Nesbitt, the former Cold Feet actor, Michael Fassbender, the Irish actor who played Bobby Sands in Hunger and starred in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
A spokesman for New Line cinema, which will jointly produce the film, said the cast had not been finalised.