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:
“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.
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.