There’s been rather a lot of casting news and rumors for The Hobbit flying around of late; but hey, guess what? Peter Jackson himself has sent word that the major casting is pretty much done! Joining Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Lee Pace, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Bret McKenzie, and all those dwarfs, we have Evangeline Lilly (so much for retiring from acting), Barry Humphries, Luke Evans, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Exciting!
Evangeline Lilly will play NOT be playing the elf Itaril, which was who Saoirse Ronan was rumored to be playing a while back. She will, however, be playing a new character: Tauriel, a Woodland (or “Sylvan,” if you want to get extra geeky about it) elf whose name means “daughter of Mirkwood.” Though Mirkwood is the forest that Legolas is from, Jackson has assured us that there will be no hanky-panky between the two of them. Barry Humphries, who is perhaps best known as Dame Edna, will portray the Goblin King; given that Jackson describes the character as being a creation similar to Gollum, I think we can safely assume that the character will be a CGI motion-capture masterpiece. For the curious, Dame Edna looks like this:
And yes, she is hilarious. However, Humphries actually looks like this:
“Complete transformation” is probably an understatement. Having seen Humphries play Dame Edna live once upon a time, I can attest to the fact that he’s an enormously gifted performer, so I’m pretty confident he’ll do a stellar job.
Moving on, Welsh actor Luke Evans is probably best known to American audiences as Apollo from Clash of the Titans and Sheriff’s Thug from the Russell Crowe Robin Hood (Yep. Sheriff’s Thug. That’s what he’s credited as. So yeah, you probably haven’t heard of him). In an interesting twist, he’ll be breathing life into Bard the Bowman, the character fans had been speculating as a possible casting choice for Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, everyone’s favorite high-functioning sociopathic modern-day Sherlock Holmes will be voicing the dragon Smaug. Incidentally, Bard the Bowman is the one who figures out that whole thing about dragons having weak spots on their undersides. Apollo kills Sherlock? Rockin’.
Jackson also reports that they’ve finished up the first block of shooting and are busily location scouting for the next, so in spite of the many setbacks the production has had, it seems to be moving right along these days. Now all we have to do is wait another year to see how it all turns out…