Director/co-writer Peter Jackson has also announced that actor Lee Pace (The Fall, A Single Man) has been cast as the Elven King Thranduil. Jackson adds that “casting these Tolkien stories is very difficult, especially the Elven characters, and Lee has always been our first choice for Thranduil. He’s going to be great. We loved his performance in a movie called The Fall a few years ago, and have been hoping to work with him since.”
The Hobbit, which finally started filming in New Zealand recently, has been a troubled production for the past few years. MGM had financial issues which were preventing the film from getting off the ground. Director/writer Guillermo Del Toro had originally been attached to direct the film, but due to long delays, he eventually departed, causing Jackson to step in. Problems didn’t end there however as union issues cropped up as did a perforated ulcer for Jackson, causing even more delays.
The two films, which are being shot in 3D, star Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as Bilbo Baggins and also includes Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, and Cate Blanchett reviving their earlier roles from The Lord of the Rings.
The Hobbit takes place 60 years before the original trilogy and tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, who goes on an adventure with a group of dwarves and Gandalf the Wizard to regain lost treasure stolen from the dwarves by the evil dragon Smaug.
The first film is set to be released in December of 2012 with the second following in late 2013.