'Lord of the Rings' director to begin prequel

LOS ANGELES Peter Jackson had originally hired Guillermo del Toro to direct, but del Toro left the project in May because of delays after working on the film for nearly two years.

The movies, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's books, had been delayed by union issues and the ongoing restructuring of flailing Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which owns half the project.

Jackson also co-wrote the screenplays with del Toro and three others.

Warner Bros. said the two-part prequel to the "Rings" trilogy is expected to start shooting in February.

The two movies will be shot back to back using digital 3-D cameras.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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