The Hobbit films production company 3Foot7 Ltd announced on Monday that the first day of principal photography will be Monday, March 21, 2011.
Director Peter Jackson commented: "Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started."
3Foot7 Ltd added: "This date has been chosen following practical considerations of the filming schedule requirements, actor availability and the NZ seasons. Shooting will take place at Stone Street Studios in Miramar and on location around New Zealand.
The confirmed cast includes Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Rob Kazinsky, Aidan Turner, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Mikael Persbrant, Sylvester McCoy and Elijah Wood.
The two films have release dates targeted for December 2012 and December 2013.