In their most recent edition of AICN-Downunder, Ain’t It Cool News included a small item which could be potentially big news for Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson’s upcoming films based on The Hobbit.

A project that’s been in development for a while and eagerly anticipated by a massive crowd of fans and moviegoers alike, The Hobbit has been engulfed in rumors when it comes to casting. So on that note, we have another possible rumor in the form of actor Brian Cox (X-Men 2, Troy, The Bourne Identity) being looked at by the producers as one of the thirteen dwarves in the adaptation.

This news comes on the heels of the John Rhys-Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings trilogy) interview with Empire where the talented actor flat out said he won’t be back to play the role of another dwarf, possibly Gimli’s father Gloin. I didn’t really understand why he would or why that would even come up, but Empire asked, and here was his response:

“I’ve already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn’t. I have already completely ruled it out. There’s a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment any more.”

There’s been no official casting as of yet but we know Sir Ian McKellen will be back as well as Andy Serkis to play Gollum / Smeagol. We also know that director Guillermo del Toro will be playing one of the monsters which is very cool to see.

As for Brian Cox, AICN reports that one of their reliable sources is leaking that Brian Cox is being looked at but is unsure of whether or not it’s a lock. Here’s the snippet from AICN’s post on the subject:

This is a news item I’d love to proclaim with all-out certainty, but my tried and trusted source(s) aren’t sure if this is a total lock, or whether it’s just someone they’re seriously interested in. Either way, producers of THE HOBBIT have begun looking at casting for the dwarves (dwarfs?), and one name has emerged as a major contender: Brian Cox. He’s a brilliant choice for the role: physically, he fits with the depiction of the the race in LOTR (well, Gimli), and he’s a born Scotsman. Also, he could yell at Galadriel for adding narration. So there you go. If this comes to fruition, you heard it here first!

Like I said, nothing’s been confirmed but it’s totally believable that Cox would be looked at to play one of the dwarves and I’m confident he’d do a fantastic job.

As for the big question of who will be playing Bilbo Baggins, McKellen revealed over the summer that the decision was made and he knew who it was. I expect some major casting announcements are not too far off.

We’ll let you know when we hear more.

What do you think of Brian Cox playing one of the Dwarves?

With Guillermo del Toro directing and Peter Jackson producing (the perfect people for the job), The Hobbit: Part 1 is scheduled to show off Middle-earth, December, 2011 and its sequel the following year.

Sources: AICN, Empire