Date: 22nd October 2010
The studios behind Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The (2012) officially confirmed Thursday that British actor Martin Freeman will be playing the titular Shire hero, Bilbo Baggins, in Jackson's two-part Lord of the Rings prequel.
But Bilbo isn't going it alone in today's casting news. MGM, New Line and Warner Bros. Also rolled out a roster of actors who will be playing the hobbit's comrades in treasure hunting and Smaug slaying...
Spooks star Armitage has landed the role of Thorin Oakenshield, the Company of Dwarves' leader who attempts to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon.
"Despite the various rumours and speculation surrounding this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us," Jackson said in a statement.
"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."
On Armitage, Jackson added: "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 Oakensheild. 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."
Being Human's Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky, who played Sean Slater in EastEnders, complete the Company of Dwarves as Kili and Fili respectively.
"Adian is a wonderfully gifted young actor who hails from Ireland," Jackson added. "I'm sure he will bring enormous heart and humour to the role of Kili.
"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!"
The films, to be produced by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham, are scheduled for release in December 2012 and December 2013.
Source: Press Release