With production well underway for Peter Jackson’s two-part The Hobbit, we finally get word of the casting of the last two roles in the film. And interestingly enough, if you J R R Tolken’s book, you know that the two characters share an interesting relationship.
First up is Luke Evans landing the role of Bard, the Laketown archer who becomes an important participant in the story’s final chapters. Evans certainly appears to be on the cusp of making it big. We’ve already seen him in supporting roles in Robin Hood and Clash Of The Titans and he had been a finalist to take leads in both The Bourne Legacy and The Great Gatsby, only to loose the parts to others. Before The Hobbit hits screens, we’ll be seeing him as Aramis in a new version of The Three Musketeers. He is also currently shooting No One Lives with director Ryûhei Kitamura.
Meanwhile, it was also announced that British-actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been picked to supply the voice for Smaug, the dragon who has stolen the fabulous treasure that the titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins has been recruited to help retrieve. Cumberbatch’s participation was first leaked by Hobbit star Martin Freeman last month when he stated that his Sherlock BBC series co-star would be participating in the film. (My speculation that he may play Bard turned out to be wrong, obviously.) And excitingly it will pit Holmes versus Watson in the second Hobbit film.
What’s interesting about the casting of Cumberbatch is that many of the actors thought to be under consideration for the role of Smaug’s voice were older with more gravely voices with names like Bill Nighy being mentioned. When Guillermo Del Toro was set to direct the film, his Hellboy star Ron Perlman was the favored suess as to who would get the role. But Cumberbatch’s voice certainly doesn’t come into line with those expectations and I think it signals an interesting take on the character on Jackson’s part. Instead of sounding all old and obviously evil, he’s giving Smaug a more polished and potentially seductive voice. Cumberbatch will also be supplying the basis of Smaug’s facial expressions through motion capture performance.