More players have joined the growing cast of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" with two recent names confirmed, one new name we haven't heard had and one famous, familiar face returning.
New Line/Warner have announced that Cate Blanchett will be returning as expected, reprising her role as Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien, while veteran Scottish actor Ken Stott will play Dwarf Lord Balin. Sylvester McCoy, rumored since the summer to be joining the film, and who recently confirmed his casting, will be playing Radagast The Brown as fans have long suspected. Additionally, Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, whose casting was first revealed by press in his native land, comes aboard as the shape-shifter Beorn (another character accurately guessed by Hobbitheads). Rounding things out are Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy and William Kircher who come aboard playing Drogo Baggins, Nori and Bifur respectively.
The quartet join the massive cast that now includes Richard Armitage (”Spooks,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Company of Dwarves which sets off to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from a thieving dragon; Aidan Turner (”Being Human”) and Rob Kazinsky (”EastEnders”) as Kili and Fili, members of the Company of Dwarves; Graham McTavish (”Secretariat”) as Dwalin; John Callen (”Power Rangers Jungle Fury”) as Oin; Stephen Hunter (”All Saints”) as Bombur; Mark Hadlow (”King Kong”) as Dori; Peter Hambleton (”The Strip”) as Gloin and James Nesbitt and Adam Brown as as dwarves Bofur and Ori respectively. Ian McKellen recently confirmed he's returning but there's no official word on that just yet.
The film will be shot in 3D using the slow-loading and buggy (just joking guys!) Epic RED cameras, and the Shire will again be scored by Howard Shore. Peter Jackson directs, shooting starts in February and the first film hits in December 2012.