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Hobbit Adds Lord Of The Rings Fellowship

The minds behind the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, have officially joined THE HOBBIT and its sequel from director Guillermo del Toro, per VARIETY.

Exec producer Jackson, Walsh and New Line president Toby Emmerich made the announcement Tuesday, four months after del Toro was confirmed as the director for both films.

Jackson, Walsh and Boyens wrote the screenplays adaptations from J.R.R. Tolkein's LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Third film THE RETURN OF THE KING won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

Production is tentatively set to begin on THE HOBBIT in late 2009 and releases are set for 2011 and 2012. Del Toro will direct the films back-to-back, with the first centered on a young Bilbo Baggins and wizard Gandalf working to recover a lost treasure. The sequel will chronicle the 60 year period between THE HOBBIT and THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, the first of the RINGS trilogy.

New Line, now a subsidiary of Warner Bros., is overseeing development and will manage production. Both films will be co-financed and co-produced by New Line and MGM. WB will distribute domestically and MGM will handle international.