When the first round of casting for "The Hobbit" was announced last week most of the names were unknown (but check out our handy guide to figure out just who these folks are) but for those of us familiar with Richard Armitage, he seemed to be a strange fit. Best known perhaps for his role on the Brit spy series "Spooks" ("MI: 5" in the United States), the decision to have him play the crabby old dwarf Thorin Oakenshield seemed slightly odd. We weren't quite sure what to make of Armitage being tasked to play a four-foot codger, but of course, Peter Jackson knows exactly what's he doing.
Talking with EW about the cast, Jackson reveals that Oakenshield is being eyed as the Legolas or Aragon of the upcoming films (cue Armitage fans swooning) saying, “Thorin Oakenshield is a tough, heroic character, and he certainly should give Leggie and Aragorn a run for their money in the heartthrob stakes — despite being four feet tall.” So ladies get ready, because you're going to have a new piece of eye candy to ogle in Middle Earth.
Jackson goes on to add that he's thrilled to have more focus on the dwarves in the upcoming films and is looking to Armitage to bring all his talents to the fore to make the character real. “In Middle-earth, dwarves are a noble race and have a culture and physical appearance which sets them apart from humans. It’s fun to develop these different cultures for the movie, and we are doing much more with dwarves this time around than we did with Gimli in Lord of the Rings.....Richard is a powerful actor with a wide range, and we’re very excited to be handing Thorn over to him. In this partnership, we need Richard to give us his depth, range, and emotion as an actor — and we’ll make him look like a dwarf!”
We're still not quite convinced, but then again we haven't seen him yet in full gear, shrunken down and doing his thing and its definitely way too early to pass any judgment and we're pretty sure Jackson knows what he's doing. Everyone sort of had a minor freakout when Elijah Wood was initially cast as Frodo Baggins in "The Lord Of The Rings" and that all worked out well in the end, so, no worries.
Production is moving forward on "The Hobbit" with a February 2011 start date lined up. All is well in the shire as the production won't be moving and shooting will once again take place in the project's long time home of New Zealand. The first film will hit in December 2012.