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The final casting decisions using actors old and new are coming together for Peter Jackson’s two-part “Lord of the Rings trilogy” prequel, “The Hobbit.”According to the official Lord of the Rings website, www.theonering.net, the following actors will return in their established roles:
Elijah Woods will return as Frodo Baggins, Andy Serkis will reprise his role as Gollum, Sir Ian McKellen will once again portray Gandalf the Grey, and Sir Christopher Lee will make an appearance as Saruman.  Oscar winner Cate Blanchett will also appear as Galadriel.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Martin Freeman will play the famed Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, while BBC television’s MI-5’s Richard Armitage will portray the Dwarven King Thorin Oakenshield.
Rumor has it that Doctor Who’s 10th Doctor David Tennant will play the part of Legolas’s father, Elvenking Thranduil.  As for Legolas, it is possible Orlando Bloom will make a two-minute screen appearance as everyone’s favorite Elven archer at a targeted price of one million dollars.

Other casting decisions have been locked in, while rumors still circulate about certain actors playing specific roles.  The voice for the great dragon Smaug was a farcical toss up between Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Bill Nighy.  Nimoy’s role is most likely what it appears to be, a rumor.

Since “The Hobbit” films received a green light on October 15th, 2010, pre-production has been in full swing with release dates targeted for December 2012, and December 2013. Jackson will utilize groundbreaking visual effects and his incomparable storytelling to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel to the big screen. Both “Hobbit” movies will be filmed in Digital 3-D, using the latest camera and stereo technology to create a high quality, comfortable viewing experience.

The films, which are scheduled to commence principal photography in February 2011, mark Jackson’s return to Middle-earth following his Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema, Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. and Steve Cooper, co-Chief Executive Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, made the announcement jointly on Monday, January 10th.

– Namtar