Source: Ian McKellen's Official Site
Update (03/18/10): McKellen's site has changed the statement to say the film will shoot in July.
While the restructuring and potential sale of MGM continues to plague the production of The Hobbit, Ian McKellen appears to have revealed some good news for fans of the series.
His official site was recently updated with the following message:
"THE HOBBIT's two films start shooting in New Zealand in June. Filming will take over a year. Casting in Los Angeles, New York City and London has started. The script too proceeds. The first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle Earth.
The director Guillermo del Toro is now living in Wellington, close to the Jacksons' and the studio in Miramar."
Previous reports pegged June as a potential start date, although the films were recently delayed from 2011 to 2012. It is not clear whether or not McKellen updates his site personally, or whether someone else does it on his behalf and may have acted without official word. Other recent reports have suggested the films will be in 3D, although Del Toro said that a final decision hasn't been made.