Peter Jackson zeroes in on directing 'The Hobbit'

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Some sources claim it's a done deal; others say the ink isn't dry on Peter Jackson signing on to officially direct The Hobbit, which he co-wrote with Guillermo del Toro, who stepped down as director due to production delays.

Also the producer, Jackson plans to shoot the two-part film in 3D, it was revealed Tuesday by website Deadline Hollywood, which will cost $500 million. With release dates set for December 2012 and December 2013, production is expected to start early next year.

The delays have been caused by the uncertainty of MGM studio's bankruptcy, but may be resolved with the partnership with Warner Bros.

Since Jackson announced a casting call in New Zealand for small performers to play hobbits last week, an official green light on production is expected soon.