British actor and former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy has confirmed that he is currently in talks to appear in Peter Jackson’s upcoming two-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Previously, the actor had been rumored as a possibility for the titular role of Bilbo Baggins, though at age 67, many thought he might be a bit old for the role.
McCoy told the Argyllshire Standard, a Scottish newspaper, Saturday, he is one of two characters being considered for “one of the wizard parts.”
I am being cast in The Hobbit… We’re currently in negotiations – there are two of us under consideration. It’s not the Bilbo role, but could be bigger.
As there has been no word of Ian McKellen leaving his Lord Of The Rings role of Gandalf The Grey, I can only assume that McCoy is up to play Radagast the Brown. Radagast was not seen on screen in Jackson’s adaptation, but in the books was another of the wizards who were sent to help Men and Elves in their struggle against Sauron but became an unwitting tool of the wizard Saruman and helped in imprisoning Gandalf in the tower at Orthanc. I am assuming that he will appear in some of the material that Jackson is developing for the film from the appendixes in Lord Of The Rings that detail what Gandalf was up to when he was not with Bilbo Baggins and the group of dwarves he was traveling in The Hobbit‘s main storyline.
The is an exciting bit of news for a couple of reasons. First, it means that Jackson and company are slowly continuing to work on the Hobbit films while MGM continues to figure out their financial problems and may be an indicator that there is a light at the end of that particular dark tunnel. Secondly, as a nearly life-long Doctor Who fan, McCoy has been one of my favorites in the role, especially in his second and third year of the film when he was given some meatier material to play. I’m intrigued as to exactly what material Jackson has been developing to fill out The Hobbit in to two films to connect them with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and now doubly intrigued to see McCoy in that material as a character that never got much “screen time” in Tolkien’s works.