The Hobbit Cast Finally Revealed Friday

Feb 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Art and Entertainment

The cast of The Hobbit finally appeared in public at a news conference in New Zealand Friday, as the long-expected, long-delayed film finally readied to roll into production.

The Hobbit is a prequel (sort of) to The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novel series. Tolkien’s series is set in Middle Earth, a magical world with medieval mythological trappings.

In The Lord of the Rings, an alliance of Wizards, Elves, Dwarves, Men, and tree-like creatures called Ents face the growing threat of a demonic enemy named Sauron and his barbaric army of semi-human Orcs. Caught in the middle of the conflict are a peaceful race of Hobbits, creatures smaller than Dwarves that prefer staying at home and eating to running off on adventures. A Hobbit named Frodo Baggins reluctantly becomes the bearer of the One Ring, the one weapon that can destroy Sauron.

The Hobbit, set 60 years earlier than Lord of the Rings, is the story of Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo Baggins, and how Bilbo acquired the One Ring from its previous owner, a corrupted Hobbit named Gollum. Bilbo finds the Ring while on an expedition led by the Wizard Gandalf, who is helping a group of Dwarves recover some treasure stolen by a dragon named Smaug.

The original Hobbit was one book, but Jackson is splitting his adaptation into two films. The second film will cover the 60-year gap between the events of The Hobbitt and those of The Lord of the Rings, and will focus on characters tying the two stories together through the hunt for Gollum.

The first Hobbit film is scheduled for release December 19, 2012. Jackson will direct, replacing Guillermo del Toro, who had been slated to direct before disputes between Jackson and distributor New Line Cinema were resolved. Joining Jackson on the screenwriting team will be Lord of the Rings screenwriters Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh.

Veteran British actor Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins. Freeman is currently playing Dr. Watson in a BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Freeman follows in the footsteps of acclaimed actor Sir Ian Holm, who played an older Bilbo in Lord of the Rings.

Leading the supporting cast are Sir Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings; and BBC Spooks actor Richard Armitage, who plays Dwarf King Thorin Oakenshield, coming off a supporting role as a villain in Captain America; and Andy Serkis, replaying his award-winning performance as Gollum.

Oakenshield’s crew of 13 Dwarves will also include Dwalin (played by Graham McTavish), Balin (Ken Stott), Kili (Aidan Turner), Fili (Rob Kazinsky), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bombur (Stephen Hunter).

Most actors who appeared in major roles in the Lord of Rings will appear in the new film. Confirmed are McKellen as Gandalf, Sir Christopher Lee as Sauron, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Serkis as Gollum. Whether Viggo Mortensen will return as Aragorn is unclear.

Rumors contend that Leonard Nimoy, who recorded an infamous “Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” in the 1960s and was an early advocate of a live-action Lord of the Rings, will voice the role of the dragon Smaug.

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