Ian McKellen Provides First Glimpse of 'The Hobbit' in 3-D

[caption id="attachment_2469" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="New Line"]The Hobbit[/caption]

Fans of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy have been waiting seven long years for production to begin on the epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy masterpiece "The Hobbit." So when news broke earlier this year that filming was finally set to begin, movie buffs around the world rejoiced at the thought of finally seeing the heroic hobbit Bilbo Baggins brought to life. Could anything be cooler?

Well, how about three Bilbos?

Yes, get pumped, y'all, because Bilbo isn't just ready to go there and back again, he's ready to do it in mind-exploding 3-D -- and Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen,  has posted all the juicy details of actor Martin Freeman's first 3-D screen tests on his official website.

We could go on and on about how awesome this sounds, but why not just let McKellen tell you in his own words? Here's what the legendary actor had to say:

"I've seen Bilbo — in three dimensions.

"I was visiting old friends in the Stone Street offices and heard Martin Freeman was just round the corner by the permanent greenscreen, done up as Bilbo, testing his costume in front of the 3D cameras.  Indeed, there he was in the open air, mostly oblivious to the camera, though turning this way and that as required.  Martin improvised a hobbity gait, padding back and forth, testing his big hairy Hobbit feet, pointy ears and little tum.

"Beneath the shade of a tent, in a sun hat, Andrew Lesnie was remotely controlling the two lenses within the mighty camera which digitally records in 3D.  His screen showed the familiar 2D image but next to it, above the director's chair, was a large colour screen in full magical three dimensions, much as it will appear in the cinema — courtesy of the spy-glasses that transform the blurred outlines onscreen to the high definition exactitude of the 3D effect.

"Three Bilbos simultaneously, two performances on screen and the actor beyond: which was the real one?  Martin Freeman was transmuting into a character whose reality will soon be as authentic as his own."

The first installment of "The Hobbit" is set to land in theaters on December 19, 2010. Until then, we have just one thing to say about all of this: Oh. Em. Gee. For real.