Ian McKellen believes 'The Hobbit' will start filming in January.
The British actor - who has played bearded wizard Gandalf in the previous 'Lord of the Rings' movies - believes the prequel will start shooting early next year after continued delays to production.
Speaking to The Bolton News, he said: "The aim is to start filming in January."
The 'Lord of the Rings' prequel has seen beset by funding problems by MGM Studios, who have been facing finance issues - leading to problems on both 'The Hobbit' and the 23rd James Bond movie.
McKellen has previously hinted he may not return to play Gandalf in the movie if problems persisted.
He said: "Well I'm not under contract and my time is running out and I'm enjoying working in the theatre and frankly, I would like to race after doing 'Waiting for Godot', get on with doing another play but we'll have to see. I don't give the producers the impression that I'm sitting waiting."
Director Guillermo del Toro pulled out of the movie earlier this year because of "conflicting schedules".
He said: "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date of filming 'The Hobbit', I am faced with the hardest decision of my life.
"After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.
"The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated."
However, he has continued to work on 'The Hobbit' as a scriptwriter.