Deadline reveals that the latest to head to Middle Earth is Luke Evans, who will take the role of Bard The Bowman. Said to feature more prominently in the second film than in the first, as you might guess, the character is a skilled archer who squares off and ultimately kills the dragon Smaug. Given that Evans has been in the running for "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Great Gatsby" -- losing out on the roles to Jeremy Renner and Joel Edgerton, respectively -- it's nice to see him finally snag a tentpole role. And while not quite an A-lister, his star is on the rise as he's got "Immortals," "The Raven" and Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" on the horizon, and this action-packed role will certain put him on the radar of many more folks.
Additionally, Deadline has discovered that Martin Freeman's "Sherlock" costar Benedict Cumberbatch will voice and perform via motion capture the aforementioned dragon Smaug in addition to voice Necromancer. Cumberbatch could be seen recently in Danny Boyle's stage production of "Frankenstein" appearing opposite Jonny Lee Miller as both the Monster and Dr. Frankenstein. Evans and Cumberbatch join a massive cast of new and familiar faces, and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hits on December 14, 2012.