Hobbit filming due to start
The cast members of The Hobbit are ready to start filming the next edition of mythical adventures from Middle Earth.
Funding problems, a threatened actors' boycott and ulcer surgery for director Peter Jackson have plagued pre-production on the two films that are Lord of the Rings prequels.
British actor Martin Freeman, who will play protagonist Bilbo Baggins, said: "We're all optimistic, ready to go."
He and the actors who play dwarf characters in the movies have trained in the gym, rode horses and worked on dialect to prepare for filming.
Filming is to start next month and the first part is anticipated in cinemas in late 2012.
The Hobbit and the Rings trilogy are based on fantasy books by British author JRR Tolkien.
© Press Association