Casting begins this week for producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro’s long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Auditions will be held in Los Angeles and London and are open to all actors. With the exception of Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, all parts are up for grabs, including story hero Bilbo Baggins.
Jackson tells the Hollywood Reporter:
What we’ve done over the years is discover a lot of interesting actors, like Orlando Bloom (in ‘Rings’), Kate Winslet (in ‘Heavenly Creatures’), Saoirse Ronan (in ‘The Lovely Bones’). So if you start looking and auditioning seriously, it’s amazing what incredible talent you’ll find out there.
Jackson stresses that he is under no obligation to hire established actors and will not consider doing so until a complete “casting sweep” has been done.
(These movies) have never been a star-driven vehicle. The star is (author J.R.R.) 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.
The Hobbit will be released as two separate films and will be shot back-to-back. Jackson, along with del Toro, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh, have already completed the script to the first part and are at work on the second, which they aim to turn in to film backers Warner Bros. and MGM later this month. So, when will production start?
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.