Peter Jackson and New Line Announce 'Hobbit' Casting

Martin Freeman is set to star as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's two-movie adaptation of The Hobbit.

New Line confirmed the Freeman news, rumored for months, and also took steps to clear up other casting rumors by announcing a slew of other names, many of whom will play key roles of as part of the Company of Dwarves.

Richard Armitage, who stars on the U.K. series MI-5 and will appear in Captain America: The First Avenger, is set to play Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Company of Dwarves, who set off to reclaim the lost dwarven kingdom under the Lonely Mountain from Smaug, a thieving dragon.

Aidan Turner (Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders) will play Kili and Fili, respectively.

The remaining dwarves will be Graham McTavish (Secretariat, 24) as Dwalin, John Callen as Oin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Mark Hadlow as Dori and Peter Hambleton as Gloin.

Other key parts that soon to be cast include a host of human and elf roles -- including Elrond the sage, Beorn and Bard the Bowman -- as well as the voice of the dragon.

Expected to return from the Lord of the Rings films is Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

The UTA- and Creative Artists Management-repped Freeman is best known to U.S. audiences for his work in the U.K, version of The Office, Love Actually, Hot Fuzz and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He also plays John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC's Sherlock Holmes series that debuts stateside next week on PBS.

Peter Oberth
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