UPDATE: The film will start shooting in July, one month later than earlier reported.
Yesterday, according to Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), who is returning as Gandalf in the two films based on J.R.R. Tokien's The Hobbit, the film has been confirmed to start shooting in June.
McKellen's official website was updated and now says, "THE HOBBIT's, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in July. Filming will take over a year. Casting in Los Angeles, New York City and London has started. The script too proceeds. The first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle Earth."
Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) will direct the two highly anticipated films.