Peter Jackson’s $500 million production of “The Hobbit” will start shooting on March 21. According to AFP, the director says that the schedule requirements, actor availability and good weather should be lining up all around then.

"Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started," Jackson said.

The oft-delayed, two-part film will have cameras rolling in New Zealand; the country fought hard to keep the production in its bordersafter budget issues and union disputes plagued a start time. The New Zealand government changed employment laws and gave Warner Bros. millions of dollars in tax breaks to help with the conflicts.

Some time was put off, too, after the “Lord of the Rings” director had surgery for an ulcer last month. He has since been released from the hospital and continues recovery at home.

As previously reported, Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett are returning to the franchise; Martin Freeman is on tap to play Bilbo.