Andy Serkis and Ian McKellen have closed deals to reprise their respective roles of Gollum and Gandalf the Grey in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit," Serkis' publicist and an individual familiar with the project have separately confirmed to TheWrap.
Serkis and McKellen will join fellow "Lord of the Rings" cast members Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett in the two-part epic, which is gearing up to start filming in New Zealand next month.
Christopher Lee and Ian Holm are also said to be in talks to return as Gandalf, Saruman and the older version of Bilbo Baggins, respectively.
Martin Freeman stars as young Bilbo in the big-budget adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel, which follows the beloved character on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and strike down the talking dragon Smaug. Bilbo is joined on this dangerous journey by Gandalf and 13 dwarves who are led by their king, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage).
Serkis will likely be involved early in the production, as Gollum's role in "The Hobbit" is much smaller but still vital to the plot.
Serkis is coming off rave reviews for his performance as punk rocker Ian Dury in "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." He next stars in "Rise of the Apes" and is also scheduled to do reshoots for Jackson and Steven Spielberg's upcoming collaboration "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn," in which he plays Captain Haddock.
Warner Bros. is fully financing "The Hobbit" and will distribute the MGM co-production worldwide.
"The Hobbit" is set for release on Dec. 19, 2012, with the second film due around the same time the following year.
Serkis is represented by Lou Coulson Associates and Principal Entertainment, while McKellen is repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group.