J.R.R. Tolkien fans and casual moviegoers alike are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, which is in the midst of production down in New Zealand. Meanwhile, those who love Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games will be excited to hear that director Gary Ross will begin filming his big-screen treatment of the novel in the near future, after two or so months of almost daily casting announcements.
Hobbit star Martin Freeman is currently "taking a break" from portraying a young Bilbo Baggins in Jackson's films to reprise his role as Dr. John Watson for the second season of Sherlock, a modern-day re-envisioning of Sherlock Holmes that was co-created by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat.
Bleeding Cool noted that while Freeman was at the recent BAFTA TV awards, he let slip that his Sherlock costar, Benedict Cumberbatch, will be appearing in Jackson's The Hobbit as well. Chances are good the English thespian has been cast as an elf, alongside the likes of Lee Pace as King Thrandull and returning Lord of the Rings veterans Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, and Orlando Bloom as Elrond, Galadriel, and Legolas, respectively.
Jackson has continued to do an excellent job of keeping fans updated on the status of The Hobbit since production on the 3D two-part project began. He most recently revealed that Stephen Fry has been cast as The Master of Laketown - so those who follow the auteur on Facebook should expect to see a note about Cumberbatch being onboard for The Hobbit in the near future.
The Hunger Games
A few more important roles have yet to be filled for Lionsgate's big-screen version of The Hunger Games, which is scheduled to begin shooting soon in North Carolina (a locale which presumably will serve as District 12 in the film). The character Cinna, a friend and stylist of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), is one such part that should finally be filled in the near future.
Two of the other District 12 stylists, Octavia and Portia, will be played by Brooke Bundy and Latarsha Rose, respectively. The pair of actresses were confirmed by Lionsgate as being onboard for The Hunger Games (via the studio's Twitter feed).
Fans were treated last week with an early look at Lawrence in costume as Katniss, thus demonstrating that the blonde, fair-skinned actress would in fact adapt makeup to embrace Collins' original vision of the character. Several of the "tributes" in The Hunger Games were never properly named or described in Collins' novel, which has allowed for a bit more leeway with regards to whether or not certain young actors and actresses could be considered "good fits" for those parts.
However, some of the stars differ noticeably from the original physical description of their respective Hunger Games character (see: Alexander Ludwig as Cato). Naturally, fans will just have to wait and see the actual film to determine whether or not such deviations have any significant effect on quality of the final product.
The Hunger Games is slated for theatrical release on March 23rd, 2012.
The Hobbit: Part 1 arrives in theaters in December 2012. Part 2 will arrive a year later in December 2013.
Source: Bleeding Cool, Lionsgate