Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will direct two movies based on the JRR Tolkien's book 'The Hobbit'.

The films, a two-part prequel to Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, were green-lit after the settlement of a legal dispute surrounding the project.

According to New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios 'The Pan's Labyrinth' director will move to New Zealand for the next four years to work on both 'Hobbit' films.

In a recent statement, 'The Lord of the Rings' director Peter Jackson, who will executive produce 'The Hobbit' films said: "We have long admired Guillermo's work and cannot think of a more inspired filmmaker to take the journey back to Middle Earth".

Filming is due to begin in 2009, with tentative release dates for the two films set for 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The movies will focus on the 60-year period between 'The Hobbit' story and 'The Fellowship of the Ring', the first of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Del Toro's 'Hellboy II', is due for release in August and he recently produced the critically lauded Spanish supernatural thriller 'The Orphanage'.

To read 'The Orphanage' review click here.