That endless source of all things movie news called Ian McKellen's official website is now reading that the two Hobbit movies will commence shooting in June of this year, not June of 2018, as previously assumed. Why take it from me when you can take it from Sir Ian (or his website editor) himself:
"The Hobbit's, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in June. Filming will take over a year. Casting in Los Angels, 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."
Old and new friends? Talk about upping the ante!
There you have it. The year-long shoot commences this summer. The script is still being worked on. Ian McKellen is back. There will be a quest in Middle Earth. Now we just need to hear some other minor details, you know, like who is playing Bilbo. You know. Little things like that.
Thanks to Coming Soon for finding this little nugget.