Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Hobbit Begins Rehearsals/Filming

Seriously excited here.

According to Sir Ian McKellen, they have begun rehearsals for the first of The Hobbit movies:
And I was there too, in Hobbiton, with a semi-circle of dwarves and Bilbo, their reluctant host. I was at the cast’s first joint rehearsal where Peter Jackson, with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, invited our comments on their script so far. This is as close to bliss as an actor can get. Facing three Oscar-winning screenplay writers who genuinely want us actors to contribute.
Oh, huzzah! The Hobbit is one of my all time favorite books, and to see Ian McKellen back in his Gandalf guise will be lovely indeed. He really is a genius in the role and, in my opinion, deserved an Oscar for how he transformed himself in the role in the The Lord of the Rings movies.

Here's hoping he delivers a similarly brilliant performance this time around and wins one.

Filming has apparently begun in New Zealand, although no word on what scenes are being shot just yet.

Director/producer Peter Jackson posted some casting news on Facebook that looks rather promising as well.  Take a peek:

Martin Freeman takes the title role as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns in the role of Gandalf the Grey. The Dwarves are played by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ken Stott (Balin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), William Kircher (Bifur) James Nesbitt (Bofur), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Rob Kazinsky (Fili), Aidan Turner (Kili), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), John Callen (Oin), Jed Brophy (Nori), Mark Hadlow (Dori) and Adam Brown (Ori). Reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Elijah Wood as Frodo. Jeffrey Thomas and Mike Mizrahi also join the cast as Dwarf Kings Thror and Thrain, respectively. Further casting announcements are expected.
Additionally, Orlando Bloom is said to be back as Legolas, Christopher Lee is said to be back as Saruman,  Ian Holm is rumored to be back to reprise his role as the older Bilbo, and Hugo Weaving is rumored to be back as Elrond.

I am especially thrilled to see Martin Freeman as Bilbo -- that is some genius casting, I have to say.   More on that here as well.

If any of the rumored casting comes to pass -- Leonard Nemoy rumored to be the voice of the dragon Smaug, Brian Blessed rumored to be the dwarf King Dain, David Tennant rumored to be the elvish king Thranduil -- it may be even more glorious indeed.

Given that George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones epic begins on HBO next month on April 17th, fantasy fans have a lot to be thankful for in the coming weeks and months.  Yay!

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