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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sian265   here is a link to some news about PJ's Hobbit movies.

The scuttlebutt is that Ian McKellan will return to play Gandalf (we knew that) and Hugo Weaving will reprise Elrond.  Cate Blanchett may return as Galadriel.  Apparently that's it for the returnees.  So no Orli playing a cameo Legolas.   Also, apparently they have no Bilbo picked out and are casting a wide net for all the characters.   The first script is completed, still working on the second.   The first movie probably won't be in theatres until 2012.  Hey wait, isn't that the year the earth is supposed to end?  Noooooo. 
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I listened to the interview with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro on theonering.net. It was interesting. They are in such a beginning stage of everything that they couldn't say much for sure. They are planning two movies, one will be The Hobbit and the second will be a gap-filler in between the Hobbit and LOTR.  I hadn't realized that before, I thought they were dividing the Hobbit into two films. It seemed as if they both agreed on an artistic vision and PJ had a good sense of how involved he should be and yet let his Director do his job.   PJ said he and Fran and Phillippa will be doing the screenplay along with Guillermo.  They said they view the project (in symphonic terms), as an overture to LOTR - true to the vision of the LOTR movies, with their own unique character.

They said every actor that was in LOTR would have an opportunity to be in one of these next two - assuming their character appears.  Here's the quote: "Unequivocally, every single actor that originated a role in the Trilogy will be asked to participate and reprise it. If Health, availability or willigness become obstacles – and only in that case recasting would be considered."
They reconfirmed that Ian McKellen would reprise Gandalf, but that's the only one they said for sure.

Guillermo waxed eloquent on the subject of Smaug.  It seems that visualizing him is the most appealing aspect of the movie for him. So, I imagine Smaug will be suitably awesome in every sense of the word.  They also said the elves of Mirkwood will be different from those of Imladris, but that's all they would say on the subject.

Anyway, it all sounded  fantastic and I can't wait.  The whole transcript is on www.theonering.net  here.

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