Sir Peter Jackson has announced who will appear in the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit.
As was widely speculated, British actor Martin Freeman (The Office) will be playing Bilbo Baggins.
“Despite the various rumours and speculation surrounding this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us,” Jackson said in a statement.
“There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave – exactly like Bilbo and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit.”
Richard Armitage (from the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger) will play Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Company of Dwarves.
“Richard is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today and we know he is going to make an amazing Thorin Oakenshield,” Jackson says. “We cannot wait to start this adventure with him and feel very lucky that one of the most beloved characters in Middle-earth is in such good hands.”
Rounding out the Company of Dwarves are Aidan Turner (TV’s Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky (TVs EastEnders) who play Kili and Fili, respectively.
Jackson adds, “Rob is an extremely talented young actor with a huge career in front of him, I’m thrilled that he has agreed to take on the role of Fili. Besides his talent as an actor, Rob is also a champion sword fighter; I’m looking forward to seeing the damage he can do to a horde of marauding Goblins!”
He continues, “Aidan is a wonderfully gifted young actor who hails from Ireland. I’m sure he will bring enormous heart and humor to the role of Kili.”
The remaining dwarves are: Graham McTavish (Secretariat, TV’s 24) as Dwalin; John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury) as Oin; Stephen Hunter (All Saints) as Bombur; Mark Hadlow (King Kong) as Dori; and Peter Hambleton (The Strip) as Gloin.
“Graham is a terrific actor, with a great depth of experience, which I know he will bring to the role of Dwalin,” Jackson said. “I have worked with Mark Hadlow on many projects; he is a fantastic actor. I am thrilled to be working with both of them on these movies.”
Jackson also said, “I am also proud to announce the casting of New Zealand actors as Peter Hambleton, John Callen and Stephen Hunter. Fran [Walsh] and I know that they will bring great depth and talent to our Company of Dwarves.”
Slash Film reports that more casting news is on the way, including hopefully a confirmation of the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
Deadline also names Stephen Fry, Saoirse Ronan and Bill Nighy as being possible participants in the project.
Now that we know who’s in it, we just need Warner Bros to make a call on where they’ll be filming it.
I’ll keep you posted…