Peter Jackson

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Peter Jackson is now out of the hospital and ready to head back to the Misty Mountains.

The Oscar-winning director was admitted a week ago to a New Zealand hospital after complaining he had some stomach pains and wound up needing emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer. His rep says the filmmaker is on the mend at his Wellington home.

So what's happening with The Hobbit, set to start fiming this month?

According to publicist Melissa Booth, only a "minimal" delay is expected and the first of the two movies is still on track to be released in December 2012, with the second due a year later. Both will be shot in 3-D.

It's taken several years to clear legal hurdles, secure financing and line up the cast for the hugely anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel.

Martin Freeman will lead the cast as Bilbo Baggins, while Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo) Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Hugo Weaving (Elrond) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) are among Jackson's LOTR stars reprising their roles.

In other casting news, Richard Armitage, has signed on to play Thorin Oakenshield, head of the company of dwarves who are off to recapture his lost inheritance; Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky will play Kili and Fili; Graham McTavish is Dwalin; John Callen is Oin; Stephen Hunter will play Bombur; Mark Hadlow is Dori; and Peter Hambleton will be Gloin.

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