'The Hobbit' News: Saoirse Ronan Addresses Rumors, Trouble On Mount Doom

Saoirse RonanSince witnessing the first official gathering of "The Hobbit" cast in New Zealand last week – not first-hand, mind you – I'm having a hard time getting Middle-Earth out of my mind. If you're in the same headspace as me, good news: we've got some updates on Peter Jackson's two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel.

Alas, be careful what you wish for: it's not all good news, kicking off with some rumor-busting. Although she was identified as a cast member late last month, it turns out that "The Lovely Bones" actress Saoirse Ronan's involvement with "The Hobbit" isn't official.

"No, nothing has actually been confirmed yet," the actress told The Irish Times. "I'd love to get a role in 'The Hobbit.' I think everybody in the world would like a role in 'The Hobbit.'"

So, sounds like Ronan is interested in a role, but either hasn't cemented her deal or hasn't actually been approached by Jackson – we're hoping for the former option, of course.

That's not the only bit of disappointing news on "The Hobbit" front today. Dark Horizons reports that Mount Ngauruhoe, the mountain where the Mount Doom scenes were shot in "Lord of the Rings," won't reprise its role for the prequel. Apparently, Jackson has been denied permission to shoot in the area because it "has been declared sacred." Instead, Jackson is scouting out Mount Taranaki and the Southern Alps as potential alternatives.

But keep your chins up: progress is most assuredly being made, as "The Hobbit" is currently set for a March 21 production start date. Shooting's just around the corner, folks!

Do you think Ronan will end up with a role in "The Hobbit?" Are you disappointed in the location change for Mount Doom? Tell us what you think of the news in the comments section and on Twitter!