The Hobbit cast shapes up … hurray for Richard Armitage!

I have been following The Hobbit movie news rather casually the past few months, having loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The production seems to have hit a bunch of snags. First the director musical chairs (which I’m glad it finally goes back to Peter Jackson) and lately there’s the actors’ strike that may threaten the filming location to be moved from New Zealand to the UK or Eastern Europe.

But this week Warner Brothers finally revealed the cast of the movie (you can check out the various sources on its IMDb page), which got me jumping up and down with glee. As you probably know from various mentions in my blog, that I adore British actor Richard Armitage! Remember the best kiss and favorite couple meme post? He’s also my choice for Robin Hood when there was rumors they’re developing a futuristic version of the medieval hero. Those in the UK might be familiar with him as he’s currently starring in MI-5 and Strike Back series (when I visited London back in May, the poster of the later show was plastered all over the city with his face on ‘em). Ever since I saw him in North & South and the Vicars of Dibley Christmas episodes, I’ve been wishing this talented actor would get a major role in a substantial Hollywood or UK production. But The Hobbit?? Oh my, this by far exceeds my expectation!

Richard will portray Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Company of Dwarfs (The fan art of what Richard would look like as Thorin is courtesy of theonering.net). Here’s what Peter Jackson himself said about the 39 year-old actor:

Click to enlarge

“Richard is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today and we know he is going to make an amazing Thorin Oakenshield… We cannot wait to start this adventure with him and feel very lucky that one of the most beloved characters in Middle-Earth is in such good hands.”

Interesting that they pick someone standing at 6’2″ to play a dwarf (I’d think he’d make a fabulous Aragorn), but then again, John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli was taller than Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen at 6’1″. But according to his IMDb bio, Rhys-Davies’ height was exactly the right proportions to those of his hobbit co-stars and no body doubles were used in their shots together. The hobbits are supposed to average about 3′ 6″ (2 feet shorter than the actors who played them) and Gimli, at just over 4 feet tall, is about 2 feet shorter than the real Rhys-Davies. It’s fascinating to learn about the various technique of ‘dwarf’-ing the actors, Wikipedia lists the complicated use of scale doubles and forced perspective to achieve that effect.

English actor Martin Freeman

By the way, I apparently missed the fact that Richard will also have a small part in Captain America: The First Avenger as the hero’s Nazi nemesis Heinz Kruger, but his role is much more prominent in this LOTR prequel project. Not to mention a chance to work with prominent thespians such as Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, and Andy Serkis who are reportedly back (per IMDb) to reprise their roles from LOTR. The rest of the new Hobbit cast include: Martin Freeman (Love Actually, Hot Fuzz, Sherlock TV series) as Bilbo Baggins (Frodo’s uncle), Aidan Turner (Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders) will play Kili and Fili, members of the Company of Dwarves. Graham McTavish (Secretariat) will play Dwalin, John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury) will play Oin; Stephen Hunter (All Saints) will play Bombur, and Mark Hadlow (King Kong) plays Dori, while Peter Hambleton (The Strip) will play Gloin (per Deadline).

Are you all anticipating this movie? We’ve got a long way to wait though until the first part of The Hobbit is released in December 2012.

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21 thoughts on “The Hobbit cast shapes up … hurray for Richard Armitage!

  1. As a Doctor Who fan, I’m thrilled to see Sylvester McCoy in the cast. And Martin Freeman should make a great Bilbo.

    • Hi Richard. Deadline also said there are rumors David Tennant might join the cast. I’m sure lots of Dr. Who fans are excited about that.

      • I’ve wanted to watch being HUman, but i’ve had a hard time finding it. I will probably get whatever season on dvd i can in the summer when i have more time

    • I didn’t know any of the cast when Lord of the Rings came out, but a lot of them have became my faves now. I was already excited for The Hobbit before I heard of this, so this is definitely icing on the cake!

  2. I haven’t read the book since I was in grade school so with all these casting rumors, I can’t really picture any of them in their respective roles. I might have to read the book again before the movie comes out.

    • Well I haven’t read the books at all, but I presume they’ll look like the dwarfs in LOTR? :) If PJ is as faithful to the book as he did with the Rings franchise, then we should have nothing to worry about.

  3. HOW IN THE HELL DID I MISS THIS NEWS?!

    I really have been living in a cave haven’t I? This is what doing a serious degree has done to me. Thank the Valar for you Ruth!

    I’m too blindsided to properly react, but I’ve gotta say that on gut instinct I’m not sure about Armitage. I really like him as an actor but he seems (as you say) more man than dwarf. Depsite his height, John Rhys Davies had that sort of stocky, ruddied appearance that goes with dwarves. I think Armitage might be too pretty…

    Martin Freeman on the other hand has hobbit written all over him. Hoping he doesn’t play it the same way he plays every other character though, he’s got some big shoes to fill.

    I’ve now been to TheOneRing.net to see how the rest of the cast is shaping up and I’ve gotta say I’m pretty excited. Really can’t wait for this movie to get here.

    • Yooo hoo Katie, well I’m glad to be the one to let you know about this news… I feel so special now ;) I see your point about RA, he is a gorgeous, gorgeous man, but I do think he is quite versatile and can play non-pretty boy roles. Did you see the fan pic of him in the dwarf garb? I think with the makeup and special effect he can easily look the part. I don’t know enough about Freeman’s work to know what to expect from him, but then again I didn’t know any of the cast of LOTR before I saw the movie and I’ve come to respect them now. Too bad we’ve got about 2 yrs to wait for this Katie :(

      • Yeah I saw the fan pic and I still wasn’t buying it, but I’m sure good old PJ will have me convinced sooner or later.

        The problem with Freeman is he tends to only have one character. Luckily that character is quite Bilbo-esque. I’m hoping he’s been type cast rather than only having one expression.

        Exactly the point. MOst of the LOTR cast were unknowns, and a lot of people got really upset about Elijah being cast but turned out he was awesome. I trust PJ to get the right people in. I’m glad he’s not focussing on bug names as well, there’s a lot of rising stars and kiwi talent in the list.

        I can wait. I’ve already waited 7(?) years.

        • Yep, methinks with makeup and SFX, he’ll look the part. As you said, sometimes we won’t know how the casting will work out until we see at least the trailer. Judging from how popular Viggo has become since LOTR, let’s hope The Hobbit will do the same to Richard’s career!

  4. Can’t wait for the Hobbit, a bit disappointed that Del Toro pulled out, was really looking forward to his interpretation of The Hobbit. But who better to take over than the man who made Middle Earth possible for the screen.

    • Hi Ronan, I’m actually glad Peter Jackson steps back in. I like Pan’s Labyrinth but I feel that Del Toro can be really violent with his work, though he may not necessarily do the same thing with this franchise. It’s impressive what he did with LOTR so I’m sure we can expect the same quality material with The Hobbit.

  5. I’ve been following this pretty closely, but I didn’t really expect to know very many of the actors brought in to play the dwarves. Other than Wood, the LOTR casting was absolutely wonderful, so I completely trust this team in who they bring in, even if they almost messed up the Aragorn casting.

    This whole situation with the New Zealand actors union has me pretty pissed, though. NZ is the absolute perfect place to film these movies. Not only does it provide the right set locations, supporting cast, atmosphere for the cast and crew and the use of sets already being built, but if the production moves of the island, New Zealand’s economy would lose over a billion dollars because of it.

    I could talk for days about the mess, but like I said before, it gets me rather upset, which is probably why I haven’t posted about it on AM…

    • Hi Red… yeah the whole thing is depressing. NZ is indeed perfect for the location and the community there have enjoyed such a tourism boost since LOTR. I’m sure PJ himself would rather stay in his home country… I hope the situation will be resolved soon. You should post your thoughts on this Red… especially if you’ve been following this in a while. I’d be interested to read it.

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  7. I am jumping with excitement!!! Too long to wait.
    I hope it can be as good as The Lord of The Rings which I consider as the best movie based on novel ever made.

    • Hey Nov, sorry I missed your comment. Yes I know, that’s the bad thing about this project is how long we have to wait for it :( But I suppose it’s a huge endeavor to tackle a project like this and I believe PJ is still busy finalizing Tintin now, another movie we’re both hugely anticipating!

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