Peter Jackson has told The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog that casting begins this week for the Hobbit movies, with only Ian McKellen returning as Gandalf – all other roles will be played by actors new to the series.
(And hopefully there won't be any CG de-aging on McKellen, X-Men 3-style – that was just freaky, like the Botox from Hell.)
(Erm… but hang on… What about Gollum? Is Andy Serkis getting the boot? Seems unlikely. Presumably he just slipped Jackson’s mind.)
“We’re auditioning for every role,” Jackson says. “(These movies) have never been a star-driven vehicle. The star is Tolkien and the world he created. We are not under any pressure. We want to find the right people. Casting someone to portray a hobbit is not as easy as you might imagine. They have to have a particular type of physical appearance and a sensibility. And the same with an elf or a dwarf. These are fantastical characters, but you’ve got to find the right people to play them, the right humans to translate these characters.
He also emphasised that the film is still on course for its Christmas 2011 release: “We were always planning to shoot around April or May next year, and as far as I’m aware, we’re pretty much on target for that. It depends on how quickly the studio greenlights the film. It’s not in our hands. But as long as we‘re shooting next year, we’re fine.”