Peter Jackson and his production team are currently "taking a break" from shooting The Hobbit to focus on some editing/effects work - and do some location scouting for the next filming period in August. This has also allowed Jackson the opportunity to announce what he says should be the last bit of "major casting" for the two-movie project.
That "last" bit of Hobbit casting news concerns the addition of Lost star Evangeline Lilly as a lovely elf and Parkinson's Dame Edna Everage (a.k.a. actor Barry Humphries) as the Goblin King/Great Goblin whose forces capture the young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his fellow dwarf comrades as they journey to the Lonely Mountain.
Jackson once again announced the news via his Facebook page, describing Lilly's Hobbit persona as "a new character - the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Her name means 'daughter of Mirkwood' and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No there is no romantic connection to Legolas.)"
The director also announced that Humphries (who many of you probably know best as the voice of Bruce the shark in Finding Nemo) would be portraying the Goblin King "in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum... with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves." That presumably means he'll be donning more traditional makeup and prosthetics to play the Goblin leader, rather than a mo-cap getup similar to what Serkis wears to portray Gollum - or that Benedict Cumberbatch will put on to play the vicious dragon Smaug.
Here's a roundup of the casting announcements (not including Lilly and Humphries) and official confirmations for The Hobbit that have occurred since the project officially began production this past March:
- Lord of the Rings stars Orlando Bloom and Hugo Weaving as the elfish archer Legolas and Elf king Elrond, respectively
- Fellow Lord of the Rings veteran Ian Holm as an elderly Bilbo Baggins
- Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown
- Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman
- Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug and the Necromancer
- Dean O'Gorman as the dwarf Fili
- Lee Pace as the elven King Thrandull
- Bret McKenzie as the fan-favorite elf Figwit (?)
Between all these (and more) stellar cast members, the technical wizardry being employed to bring this new Middle-Earth tale to life, and Jackson & Co.'s obvious passion for and adoration of J.R.R. Tolkien's source material, there's more than plenty of reason to be excited about these Hobbit films. They will be an undoubtedly different cinematic adventure than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but hopefully, just as imaginative and creative too.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives in U.S. theaters on December 14th, 2012.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again will hit theaters close to a year later on December 13th, 2013.
Source: Peter Jackson