14:32 22 March 2011
After months of delays, filming has finally started on Peter Jackson's production of The Hobbit.
Hollywood studio funding problems, a row over actors pay and surgery for director Jackson have all been contributing factors in the film's delay.
The film's star Martin Freeman joked at a press conference about the problems surrounding The Hobbit, saying:
"There are some bits of bad luck associated with it.
"We're all very optimistic about it. We're ready to go - just as soon as 2015 comes around."
Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins in the movie, which will be split into two separate films.
Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington and on location around New Zealand; however bosses had previously considered taking production away from the country after acting unions threatened to strike over pay.
Jackson warned that moving production to eastern Europe instead "could so easily happen".
The New Zealand government acted at the end of October 2010, changing laws and improving tax breaks to ensure that the filming took place in the country.
Filming had earlier been stalled by the exit of original director Guillermo del Toro and rows over distribution rights.
Peter Jackson himself also faced problems, having to have surgery in January for a perforated ulcer.
Production on the films is expected to take up to two years, with the first part due out in late 2012.
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