Hobbit director Jackson leaves hospital

Thu Feb 3, 2011 5:50pm EST
 
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Peter Jackson, director of the "Hobbit" movies, has left Wellington hospital after undergoing surgery for a perforated ulcer, with any delay to filming as a result of his illness expected to be minimal.

Jackson 49, who directed the hit "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy in his native New Zealand, was admitted a week ago after experiencing acute stomach pains.

He will continue his recovery at home, and any delay to the filming, which is scheduled to start this month, would be minimal spokeswoman Melissa Booth said in a statement.

The first of the two movies will be released in December 2012 and the second is expected a year later.

The movies have been beset by a succession of problems, most notably the threat last year by Time Warner Inc unit Warner Bros. to move production overseas because of fears unions would impose a boycott to back demands for a collective contract.

The government last year changed labor laws to keep the estimated $500 million production and increased tax breaks for Warner Bros, citing the damage that might be done to the country's small film industry.

"The Hobbit" is based on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lives in the land of Middle-earth and goes on a quest to find treasure guarded by a dragon.

The book, first published in 1937, is the precursor to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which also takes place in Middle-earth.

The cast for the movies includes Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Ken Stott and Martin Freeman.

(Reporting by Adrian Bathgate)

 
<p>Director Peter Jackson arrives for the premiere of the film "The Lovely Bones" in Hollywood December 7, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Redmond</p>