As promised, production has begun on Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit, which will prove once and for all if Peter Jackson is really suited to adapt novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. This announcement comes with a confirmation of the cast, most of which has already been rumored or announced. It also comes with two set photos showing director Peter Jackson traipsing about Middle Earth like some hairy wizard. Here's the full skinny on the cast, straight from the Warner Brothers/New Line press release:
"Martin Freeman takes the title role as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns in the role of Gandalf the Grey. The Dwarves are played by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ken Stott (Balin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), William Kircher (Bifur) James Nesbitt (Bofur), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Rob Kazinsky (Fili), Aidan Turner (Kili), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), John Callen (Oin), Jed Brophy (Nori), Mark Hadlow (Dori) and Adam Brown (Ori). Reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings trilogy are Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Elijah Wood as Frodo. Jeffrey Thomas and Mike Mizrahi also join the cast as Dwarf Kings Thror and Thrain, respectively. Further casting announcements are expected."

Huzzah! There's also a Facebook page launched by Jackson, who as you might know has a knack for keeping interested fans in the know about his ongoing productions. If you keep your eyes on that, you won't even have to go see The Hobbit when it comes out! You can see the photos below, and the full press release over at /Film.