Filming of 'The Hobbit' will be delayed.

The movie's director Sir Peter Jackson entered into hospital in Wellington, New Zealand yesterday (26.01.11) suffering with stomach pains, meaning the troubled 'Lord of the Rings' prequel - starring Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom - will not start on its expected production date in February.

However, Sir Peter is believed to be recovering well from the surgery for a perforated stomach ulcer and resting comfortably.

A statement from producers read: "Sir Peter's surgery is not expected to impact on his directing commitment to 'The Hobbit' beyond a slight delay to the start of filming."

The movie - which features British actor Martin Freeman as lead character Bilbo Baggins - has had a number of problems with production, and last year was close to moving from New Zealand to Eastern Europe or the UK.

Original director Guillermo Del Toro pulled out of helming the project, and extras were initially advised against taking part in the shoot because of a lack of deal about pay.

'The Hobbit' - which sees lead character Bilbo journey to Lonely Mountain with a group of dwarves to fight a dragon - is expected to hit cinemas in December 2012.