The Hobbit Has a Cast — and a Very British One


Hobbit holeHobbit hole

Photo by Rob Chandler (Rob & Jules on Flickr); used under Creative Commons Attribution license.

Peter Jackson’s two-part movie of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, set to start filming in February, may not have a firm filming location — but it finally has a cast! There are still several important roles to be filled, but with Bilbo and most of the dwarves cast, Jackson’s vision is definitely starting to take shape.

Confirming many rumors that had been swirling about the production, it’s now been confirmed that Martin Freeman, probably best known to American geek audiences as Arthur Dent in the disappointing 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and possibly his role in the British The Office, will play the title character of Bilbo Baggins. Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, will be played by Richard Armitage, who has mostly acted in British TV productions, and is probably best known to geek audiences elsewhere as Guy of Gisborne in the latest TV adaptation of the Robin Hood legend. The other actors playing dwarves that have been announced are Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow, and Peter Hambleton. If any of those names means anything to you, that’s more than any of them does to me — they all appear to be British, Scottish or Irish, and to have appeared primarily in British TV productions.

There has yet to be official confirmation that Andy Serkis will return to play Gollum and that Ian McKellan will be back as Gandalf, though it’s difficult to imagine anyone else in the roles now. Rumors have swirled about who might play the Elven King, though most that I’d seen were that Aidan Turner would play him and he’s now cast as Kili. Other names talked about include the incomparable Stephen Fry — though I’m unsure what role he might play — and Bill Nighy, who is rumored to be the one to provide the voice of the dragon Smaug.

For my part, I want to know who’s going to play Beorn and Bard the Bowman — perhaps an American actor? I mean, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin are all American, and they did OK, right?

By the way, if you want to know more about the filming location troubles alluded to above, Syfy’s Blastr blog has the story.

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