Sighs of relief everywhere:
After days of negotiations between New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Warner Bros. executives, it has finally been decided that the two Hobbit movies will be filmed in New Zealand (Variety). After a dispute and boycott (which has now been lifted) from an Australia-based New Zealand actors union, the studio says it lost confidence in the work climate of the country and considered moving it elsewhere. But now it's finally all settled, and Middle Earth will remain in New Zealand where all three Lord of the Rings movies were shot.
Peter Jackson is set to direct the movies, Martin Freeman has been cast as Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage (the very attractive Sir Guy of Gisborne from BBC's Robin Hood) will play Thorin Oakenshield.
New Zealand was such a perfect and beautiful location for the Lord of the Rings movies, it would have been a real shame to take the Hobbit movies somewhere else. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Hobbiton again. I can't wait.