‘Lord’ fellowship signs on for ‘Hobbit’

Jackson, Walsh, Boyens onboard for film

Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have officially signed on to collaborate on “The Hobbit” and its sequel with director Guillermo del Toro.

The announcement, from exec producers Jackson and Walsh and New Line president Toby Emmerich, came four months after del Toro confirmed he had signed on to direct both pics.

Jackson, Walsh and Boyens teamed on penning the three screenplay adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Lord of the Rings.” The third pic, “The Return of the King,” won an Oscar for adapted screenplay.

The announcement said the production’s tentatively set to begin in late 2009, with the releases set for 2011 and 2012.

Del Toro is directing the two films back to back, with the first pic centered on a young Bilbo Baggins swept off by the wizard Gandalf to recover a lost treasure. The sequel deals with the 60-year period between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Warner Bros. susbisdiary New Line is overseeing development and will manage production. Both pics are being co-produced and co-financed by New Line and MGM, with Warner distributing domestically and MGM handling international.

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