Jackson: ‘Hobbit’ Not Delayed, Casting Starts This Week

Jackson says prequels still on schedule for 2011, and Ian McKellen is the only returning cast member

Last Updated: December 7, 2009 @ 7:12 PM

The search for Bilbo Baggins has begun — and we’ll see him sooner than reported.

Peter Jackson told the website Collider.com that as far as he knows, the dual prequels are still on track to hit theaters in 2011 and 2012, respectively. According to reports last week, including TheWrap’s, the films weren’t likely to roll out a year behind that schedule.

Not so, Jackson said in a videotaped interview.

"You don’t want to believe everything you read on the internet," he said. "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."

Meanwhile, casting on “The Hobbit” begins this week, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Wide auditions are expected for each part except Gandalf, which TheWrap reported last week is being reserved for Ian McKellen, who played the wizard in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.