Tobey Maguire is to star in The Hobbit, it has been claimed.
The 34-year-old actor - who last week quit the Spider-Man franchise shortly before filming was due to begin on its fourth instalment - is to play Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's movie adaptation of JRR Tolkein's Lord Of The Rings prequel, according to The Sun.
Producer Jackson - who directed the Lord Of The Rings trilogy - and director Guillermo del Toro have reportedly had their sights set on Maguire for the role for months.
Rumours that Maguire, who was nominated for a best actor Golden Globe for Brothers, may be in line for the part of Bilbo - played as an old hobbit by British actor Ian Holm in The Lord Of The Rings movies - first emerged last month.
At the time he said he had not spoken to the production team, but added: "I love Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson and I certainly wouldn't take myself out of the conversation."
Filming is due to start in New Zealand in the summer with The Hobbit story divided into two movies, set for release in 2011 and 2012.
Maguire is rumoured to have parted ways with the Spider-Man franchise as he was unhappy with the direction the latest instalment had taken.
The fourth film will focus on his character Peter Parker's high-school life and it is not known who will take the lead role, though rumours have already begun that Twilight star Robert Pattinson will play Parker.