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Figuring out the cast of “The Hobbit”

There have been many developments with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit within the past few days concerning the film’s cast.

First and foremost, Martin Freeman, who is pictured to the left, will be playing Bilbo Baggins. Good thing that that’s finally been confirmed via Deadline. Jackson’s words on the casting of Bilbo:

Despite the various rumors and speculation surround this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us. There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave — exactly like Bilbo and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit.”

Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis are likely to reprise their “Lord of the Rings” performances as Gandalf and Sméagol/Gollum, respectively.

Meanwhile, Jackson has cast Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Armitage has mainly worked in television but will appear in next year’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Oakenshield led the Company of Dwarves. Here’s what Jackson had to say about Armitage:

“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.”

Actors John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, Rob Kazinsky, Graham McTavish, and Aidan Turner have all been cast to play various dwarves in the film. But who are they?

Callen has done voice work for the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords and various “Power Rangers” series. Hadlow had an appearance in Jackson’s King Kong. Hambleton has found consistent work on television; he won a New Zealand Film and TV Award for his work in the film The Last Tattoo in 1994. Hunter has also been diligent in television work.

McTavish appeared as the Duke of Albany in a 1999 film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. Aidan Turner has starred in only one theatrical film: 2008’s Alarm, which only played in Germany and Ireland. Kazinsky has yet to appear in a theatrical motion picture, but won the British Soap Award for Best Actor for his role in the television series EastEnders.

Kazinsky and Turner are set to play Fili and Kili. Jackson had nothing but kind words concerning both actors:

“Rob is an extremely talented young actor with a huge career in front of him, I’m thrilled that he has agreed to take on the role of Fili.  Besides his talent as an actor, Rob is also a champion sword fighter; I’m looking forward to seeing the damage he can do to a horde of marauding Goblins… Aidan is a wonderfully gifted young actor who hails from Ireland. I’m sure he will bring enormous heart and humor to the role of Kili.”

Stephen Fry and Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan might have roles in the film, while Bill Nighy might put in a voice performance as Smaug the dragon.

With little to go on concerning talent as far as who will definitely be in the film, how do we make heads or tails of this cast? Well, consider how pitch-perfect Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davis, and other once-unknowns were in “The Lord of the Rings” films. While there is still skepticism over these choices, Jackson should work wonders with this cast.

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